[ RadSafe ] Nuclear power plant cooling towers

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Thu Aug 21 10:48:01 CDT 2014

In a non-scientific sampling of the people I can remember, approximately none of the non-engineering people I've talked to understood that, and about half didn't believe me after I explained it.

My best cooling tower story concerns a lady who wanted her cow tested for radiation, because she lived several miles from Satsop, home of the never complete WPPS reactors 3 and 5.  When I pointed out that that the reactors were never finished and fuel was never delivered, she said I must be wrong, because when she drove by at night there was a red light at the top of the tower.  I had to explain to her that it was an aircraft warning light, not an "on" indicator for the nuclear reactor. 

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Maury
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:58 AM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Nuclear power plant cooling towers

Just curious ... in publicity photos, the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant are often shown with a full plume of steam floating out the top into the air.  I believe the intent is to suggest smoke pollution being released as in pictures of tall industrial smokestacks billowing smoke into the air.

Does anyone know of any surveys or have information about the extent to which the public is aware that it is simply steam or condensed water vapor being released from the cooling towers?  (Or heaven forbid, am I mistaken? Dog would never forgive me.)

Maury&Dog   [MaurySiskel maurysis at peoplepc.com]
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