Can anyone explain the very common public mis-understanding of the role of
natural-draft cooling towers used in fossil-fueled as well as nuclear-fueled
electric generating plants?
For example, today's (January 16) Dallas Morning News devotes about two full
pages devoted to nuclear power plants, with both photographic detail as well
as an artist's rendition of natural-draft cooling towers scattered around
the country. Evidently, because natural-draft cooling towers are large and
highly visible even from several miles distant, such towers have somehow
become a visual metaphor for nuclear energy. WRONG! Those cooling towers
simply cool the condensate coming from steam-driven turbines. They have no
technical relationship with nuclear power other than the fact that they are
generally located near the turbine-generator unit. Such cooling towers have
long been in use at fossil-fueled power plants decades before the advent
of nuclear energy.
- posted 15 years ago