“The only facility in California that does not use any of California’s precious fresh water is the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which desalinates ocean water for all of its freshwater needs, even running the nuclear reactors. But their desalination plant is only operating at 40% capacity. They can actually produce a million and a half gallons of fresh water a day, and can ramp up quickly to provide the additional 825,000 gallons of freshwater per day to the nearby community. Because the Canyon Diablo nuclear plant produces electricity at only 4¢/kWh, the desalination will cost a fraction of a cent per gallon, cheaper than any other desalination facility.”
— from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/06/09/californias-megadrought-nuclear-power-to-the-rescue/
Molten Salt Reactors can be factory produced in under 5 years if we get going, producing power to desalinate water that so much of California and other areas of USA and the world need.
Light Water Reactors, the kind most people think is “nuclear power”, uses fresh water for cooling, and fails if water is not available. (Fukushima Daiichi problems started with the backup diesel generator, against regulation and safety sense, located in the flood zone and destroyed; the damage to the reactors was from the water pumps not having any power, no cooling.) The inside of the fuel pellets is far hotter than the reactor materials can handle, if cooling fails. The pressure of water getting so hot would explode parts of the reactor; that big building around the reactor is to contain steam with radioactive materials, if water does explode out of pipes.
Molten Salt Reactors use no water. MSR cooling is from stable salts, far below their boiling temperature. (A different salt than sea salt, since sodium chloride doesn’t dissolve enough uranium. But all salts are chemically very stable.) The molten fuel is dissolved in the molten salts; the fission rate is strongly controlled by thermal expansion/contraction of the fuel salt; there is no way the fuel can get too hot for the reactor materials. With everything below boiling temperature, there is no high pressure, no way pressure can explode radioactive materials into the atmosphere. Even with a major pipe break, the fuel salt, and most of the fission products, are chemically bound together and cool quickly to solid; this salt doesn’t dissolve in water, doesn’t chemically interact with water, is too dense to spread in water.
Solar power could desalinate water, and intermittent solar power might be acceptable for making fresh water, since we most need fresh water when the sun is shining. But the best solar power locations are usually far from the ocean. MSR provides power all day, easily adjusts to power demand; generate electricity, and provide heat to make gasoline from CO2, and electricity to desalinate water.
Molten Salt Reactors can be safely located close to the ocean, and provide fresh water inexpensively.