Kuiper sits in the grass. There are wildflowers behind him.

Satsop Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant

Kuiper sits with an abandoned nuclear facility behind him near Elma, WA (swipe for more pics.) Don’t worry; Kuiper isn’t in any danger!

Cooling tower WNP-5 (as well as its sister WNP-3) was never put into use. The towers are 440 feet (~134m) wide at the base, 280 feet (~85m) wide at the top, and nearly 500 feet (~152m) tall!! The unusual shape (narrower in the middle) is called a “hyperboloid.” Cooling towers have to be really tall to do their job, and this shape makes them strong. Towers are also found in coal & oil power plants. Home swamp coolers are miniature versions.

For power plants, their purpose is to conserve water. Whether it’s a nuclear or coal plant, most power is generated by heating up water into steam to turn a turbine. Once you have a bunch of really hot water, you have a couple of choices. 1. you can dump it into a big lake or the ocean (not recommended; it’s not radioactive, but hot water is not great for local wildlife.) 2. Recycle it. Cooling towers re-condense and cool down the steam by allowing it to mix it with colder air. Then you can feed that water back into the system. Any scary looking “smoke” coming from the top is just hot, moist air condensing, like when you can see your breath in winter.

Construction on both Satsop towers started in 1977, but by 1981 the budget had ballooned and public sentiment was in decline. The local utility company tried to preserve the equipment, but was unable to secure more funding and the projects were eventually scrapped. In 2012, the Port of Grays Harbor acquired the site; it’s now home to a business park. Since it would cost several millions of dollars to demolish the towers, the unused nuclear facilities are instead marketed as prime locations for military training and dystopian film-making.

Unfortunately, the towers are fenced off with extra scary signs, so we couldn’t really take a peek up close (last pic is taken through the fence.) I learned later that walking tours are available to the public, but you have to call in advance (for more info, check out satsop.com). I’m not sure if they’d allow Kuiper, though. @discovergraysharbor ?? I promise to dress him in @Fallout cosplay.

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bjstq5JA3N4/

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