The Nuclear Era, Site One

In the first of a two part series, I hope to show you the insides, outsides, ups & downs of two of America’s multi-BILLION dollar ruins. The first stop on this journey is a sprawling 1,940-acre (790 hectares for you in the know) plot of land that in the 1960’s looked to be the future of nuclear-electric power.

The project construction began in the 60′ and more than doubled the population of the surrounding area overnight. The construction of 4 nuclear reactor cores, 2 +550ft cooling towers (The largest ever built was 600ft), 2 mammoth condenser halls, and a intricate network of tunnels and tubes was underway.

After nearly eight years had passed in the plants construction the government, in it’s infinite wisdom, sank TWO BILLION DOLLARS into this project then scrapped the whole idea.

Thankfully for enthusiasts like myself, much of the super-structure and underground construction was completed before they abandoned it altogether.

Today, 4 reactors sit in various levels of completion; the bases of each reactor being ~4ft thick solid steel that is about 2 stories tall. The core of the reactor is also exposed and you can climb inside and see the control rod slots (Which was a dream come true for this nerd).

Another stunning section to this maze of concrete was the twin condenser halls. Pictures can never do justice to their size (Or really the size of any structure at this location). You could EASILY fit 3 or more city buses end to end in there. If it were a functioning nuclear plant, then this space would be packed with heat exchange machinery whose only purpose was to move the heat from the radioactive steam coming from the turbines and core into the cooling tower water. This prevents any chance of radiation contamination into the steam you see billowing out of any power plant.

An interesting note, all the debris you see laying in the above pictures from the condenser pit is not from years of erosion or the structure caving-in… When the workers were told the project was shut down, they just pushed everything into the ground. No re-selling or refunding. Just piled there to rot away.

The brightly colored yellows, reds, & pinks are (respectively): radiation resistance suites or helmets, radiation warning bags or signs, radiation labeled nylon trash bags.

 Though the building and reactor sections were where most of my time was occupied, my jaw still dropped when I was near the cooling tower. You truly do know the sheer size of this unless you see it in person. Standing directly under it takes up the entire horizon with only a circle of sky over 550ft above. The acoustics in the center are also incredible. Even a modest whisper will echo for several seconds while a snap of the fingers will return with 8 or 9 snaps back!

Strangely, like most other abandoned plants like this the surrounding area will be sold off to form an industrial park while the rest will be left to crumble. Even if the money was there the engineers say the design of the plant is too outdated and inefficient to bring online.  (Which is okay with me)

         

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3 Responses to “The Nuclear Era, Site One”

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