Frequently the “smoke stacks” at nuclear plants are thought to be billowing harmful emissions into the atmosphere. In fact, the white “smoke” you see rising out of nuclear plants is actually steam, and the stacks are cooling towers.
What is the smoke that comes out of nuclear power plants?
Have you ever wondered about the large towers you’ve seen while driving by a nuclear plant? Though it may look like they are emitting smoke, it’s actually just water vapor. The cooling towers are part of the cooling water system used to condense steam from the turbine back into water.
Why do power plants have stacks?
A smokestack, stack, or chimney is a tall vertical pipe or channel used by power plants to exhaust combustion gases into the air. This height disperses pollutants over a wider area in order to minimize their impact.
Can nuclear plants explode?
Fortunately, the reactor cannot explode. A nuclear explosion cannot occur because the fuel is not compact enough to allow an uncontrolled chain reaction. … Even an uncontrolled reaction would happen too slowly to cause an explosion.
Why are power plants so tall?
Warm water is sprayed from spray nozzles high up. As the water falls down, some evaporates cooling the rest of it. The cooled water is collected at the bottom of the tower. In a natural draft tower, the tower is tall enough that the buoyancy of the heated air is enough to create a strong up-draft.
Why are power plant stacks so tall?
In the early 1970s, power plants commonly installed tall stacks to reduce pollutant concentrations at ground level to help attain NAAQS. The 1977 amendments to the Clean Air Act encouraged the use of pollution control equipment and other control measures over dispersion techniques such as tall stacks to meet NAAQS.
What is the difference between crossflow and counterflow cooling towers?
In a crossflow tower, air travels horizontally across the direction of the falling water whereas in a counterflow tower air travels in the opposite direction (counter) to the direction of the falling water. … This is because of the air inlets on each style of tower.