Your Moment of Zen: Cooling Towers Fall in Slo-Mo

February 5, 2013

I reported yesterday on the transformation building steam in the US economy, as coal fired power plants are abandoned, and new energy services are being provided by efficiency, combined heat and power, micropower, gas turbines, and renewables – which are plummeting in price.

Today I came across this synchronistically appropriate video. Fast forward to halfway in if you’re in a rush, but do take the 2 minutes to breath deeply and inhale the paradigm shift…

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12 Responses to “Your Moment of Zen: Cooling Towers Fall in Slo-Mo”

  1. joffan7 Says:

    So huge that slo-mo seems like a luxury… but a fascinating look at how these structures fall apart as they come out of the gravity frame they were built for.

    As is (I think) reasonably clear, these cooling towers are long abandoned; left standing perhaps as a speculation that a new thermal plant might be built to use them?


    • Could these cooling towers be part of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant?

      In 1973 when OPEC cut production because of the Yom Kipper War, U.S. utilities ordered 41 nuclear power plants. The environmentalist then changed all of that in 1989 to the point where the completed, ready to operate 6 billion dollar Shoreham plant on Long Island N. Y. was never allowed to operate because Governor Mario Cuomo’s office would not sign the documents required to operate the plant. Most of the cost of the plant was passed on to Long Island residents and now the electricity that would have been generated is now produced by fossil fuels. There is one “green” note regarding all of this debacle that the past governor should be very proud of: “In 2005, two 100 foot high wind turbines with 25 foot blades were erected at the plant and attached to the electric grid, generating a peak power of 50 kilowatts each (1/8000 of the power that the nuclear plant would have generated)”

      It is interesting to note that while these towers took science, engineering and construction skills and much time and effort to build, it only took a few people and some explosive to tear down. The same can be said for a society and a culture.

      • MorinMoss Says:

        A lot of your facts about Shoreham are wrong as it was planned since 1965 but was delayed because the size, number of reactors and location were changed more than once.
        Resident opposition to the plant began in 1970, several years ahead of the OPEC embargo and the plant’s location was also jeopardized by its proximity to a sensitive naval facility.

        Construction didn’t start until 1973 and took ELEVEN years while the cost ballooned from the original estimate of $75 million in the ’60s to over $2 BILLION – back when that was real money.

        Of course, the 3 Mile Island event didn’t help the plant’s popularity.


        • MorinMoss: I’m not too sure what your point is but since this is not that important I will use Wikipedia:
          “The plant was built between 1973 and 1984 by the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO), but never operated.
          On May 19, 1989, LILCO agreed not to operate the plant in a deal with the state under which most of the $6 billion cost of the unused plant was passed on to Long Island residents. In 1992, the Long Island Power Authority bought the plant from LILCO. The plant was fully decommissioned in 1994.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoreham_Nuclear_Power_Plant

          I also wonder why the Yom Kippur War should have cause so much interest in nuclear power plants when in the US now petroleum only supplies .8% of the electrical needs of the nation.
          “Petroleum can be burned to produce hot combustion gases to turn a turbine or to make steam to turn a turbine. Residual fuel oil, a product refined from crude oil, is often the petroleum product used in electric plants that use petroleum to make steam. Petroleum was used to generate less than 1% of all electricity in the United States in 2011.”
          http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_in_the_united_states

          “Of course, the 3 Mile Island event didn’t help the plant’s popularity.” but I’m sure that you are aware that the nuclear aircraft carrier “enterprise” was recently decommissioned after 51 years of safe service to the US Navy and how much smaller of a back yard could one imagine than being on a nuclear powered ship.

          According to one viewpoint of reports offering the comparison between wind versus nuclear energy, there has not been one single injury to a nuclear plant worker in all its 104 power plants and 40 years of service in the United States… not one!
          http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/14/even-candles-kill-many-more-than-nuclear-power/
          MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — A national safety group is urging states and regulators to adopt new standards that would ban a pipe-cleaning practice blamed for a 2010 Connecticut power plant explosion that killed six workers.
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/27/connecticut-power-plant-explosion_n_983884.html

          June 14, 1952 Keel for the Navy’s first nuclear submarine, Nautilus, laid at Groton, Connecticut.
          March 30, 1953 Nautilus first starts its nuclear power units
          December 12, 1963 Jersey Central Power and Light Company announces its commitment for the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, the first time a nuclear plant is ordered as an economical alternative to a fossil-fuel plant.
          October 17, 1973 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to use oil as a foreign policy weapon, cutting exports 5 percent until Israel withdraws from Arab territory occupied during the Yom Kippur War. Days later Saudi Arabia cuts oil production by 25 percent and joins many other oil-producing nations in embargoing oil shipments to the United States.
          1973 U.S. utilities order 41 nuclear power plants, a one-year record.
          1986 The Perry power plant in Ohio becomes the 100th U.S. nuclear power plant in operation.
          1988 U.S. electricity demand is 50 percent higher than in 1973.
          1989 America’s nuclear power plants provide 19 percent of the electricity used in the United States; 46 units have entered service during the decade.
          http://scienceclub.nei.org/scienceclub/4yourclassproject/4ycp_timeline.html

      • joffan7 Says:

        No. Why would Shoreham have cooling towers? It would use the ocean for cooling.

        These towers I believe were associated with a coal plant in the middle of England. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9JiQCTOqB4

  2. Alteredstory Says:

    I know it’s a bit like celebrating victory before a war has truly begun, but this felt a bit like watching a dictator’s statue be torn down…


  3. [...] As clean energy options like wind and solar grow around the world, coal-fired power plants are being shut down. Perhaps the most deadly industry in the history of humankind (one of the deadliest, at least) is losing to clean wind and clean solar in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. Capturing that in a unique way, here’s a wonderful slow motion video of some coal-fired power plant cooling towers getting blown up (thanks to Peter Sinclair for the share): [...]


  4. The advantage with FRP type tower is the material used is non corrosive and resists rust and other elements of corrosion. This material is light weight and hence the designs of the Cooling Towers can be customized based on the space requirements of the customers.


  5. While most think of a “cooling tower” as an open direct contact heat rejection device, the indirect cooling tower, sometimes referred to as a “closed circuit cooling tower” is nonetheless also a cooling tower.


  6. For me, the most striking thing about this video is the separation of the parts at the TOP of the cooling tower early in the collapse. There would be no reason for the demolition people to plant explosives up there, so why would they fall apart when the intervening portions of the structure remain intact?

    The answer, I realized, is that the shock waves from the explosions at the base of the tower travel up the tower, converging and gaining strength as the tower narrows. The shock wave reaches its maximum strength at the narrowest part of the tower, breaking the concrete there. You’ll note that the fragments that break off seem to break at a base point somewhat below the top, but I can’t quite tell if the fracture point is indeed at the narrowest point in the tower.

    One small item: the significance of this demolition is that it represents a shift away from coal. I’m pretty sure that these towers were part of an older British coal burner, as was mentioned by a previous correspondent.


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