For every three units of energy produced by the reactor core of a U.S. nuclear power plants, two units are discharged to the environment as waste heat. Nuclear plants are built on the shores of lakes, rivers, and oceans because these bodies provide the large quantities of cooling water needed to handle the waste heat discharge.
Got Water? explains the cooling water needs of nuclear power plants and describes the various methods used to meet those needs. In addition, this 14-page illustrated backgrounder summarizes some of the problems nuclear power plants have encountered when the insatiable cooling water needs were unmet.