A nuclear reactor relies on heat to create steam. The heat in the steam is transformed into kinetic energy and then to electric energy, the more that gets converted the better the yield per unit of fuel. The energy produced is intrinsically linked to removing heat from the steam. The water escaping through vapors are cooled to near ambient by those huge cooling stacks. The idea is some day a steam turbine will capture the heat so well that we wont need cooling stacks to reduce it back to ambient. There is a tremendous amount of heat in the waste but that is solid waste with methods to sequester the heat if the people involved with making it happen would just stop bickering about what method to use.
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