Cooling Towers in Chernobyl
The Chernobyl cooling towers are powerful reinforced concrete structures.
A view of the unfinished cooling towers opens immediately around the bend of the road on the way from the village of Kopachi towards the Chernobyl NPP. Two giant gray towers rise a few hundred meters from the drying Chernobyl cooling pond. The height of the cooling towers is 107 meters (351 ft) and 30 meters (98 ft) respectively, the diameter is 60 meters (197 ft). The distance to ChNPP is 3 km (1.8 mi).
They were built to cool the 5th and 6th reactors, because the capacity of the cooling pond (160 million m3 / 5.65 billion ft3 ) was not enough. Like the entire complex of the 3rd stage of the Chernobyl NPP, where construction work stopped, the cooling towers symbolize the irreversibility and suddenness of the catastrophe. They are forever frozen in time in 1986.
“Garlands” hang on the outer and inner side of the building walls: scaffolding, cement supply systems, etc. The base is overgrown with trees and shrubs. On the ledges and niches inside the building, kestrels have built nests. From time to time, the plates and structural elements break off and fall down. Then, inside there is a booming blow, repeatedly amplified by an echo which is clearly audible even at a distance of 300- 400 meters (984-1,312 ft).
The cooling towers are an impressive sight, so tourists like to take pictures of them; thankfully, they are large, and procedural restrictions are not enforced here. Australian artist Guido van Helten created a memorable mural on the concrete wall inside the 107-meter cooling tower especially for the 30th anniversary of the accident. This has increased tourist interest, which is not too good, because there are high levels of pollution and risk of collapse. It is better to look upon the cooling tower from the side. This is our advice.
This article was published in the book Interesting Chernobyl.
You could download this book in PDF file for free here.
© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
Copying and publication of this article is possible only with the written permission of the publishing house.
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