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18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest The American Experience
Nuclear plant steam plume, Berwick PA 2020-11-29

We have two large power plants in our region in central Pennsylvania, one built as coal-fired (now largely natural gas) and the other built as the "Susquehanna Steam Electric Station" (notice no "nuclear" in the name, not that this would fool anyone). Each plant has a nature preserve nearby; I do not know what regulatory agency or agencies insisted on it, but the citizenry has definitely benefitted, for two generations now. The Susquehanna Riverlands lie just below the nuclear plant near Berwick. The Susquehanna plant ranks as the 21st-largest power plant in the country by generating capacity (2,500 megawatts here), the 7th largest nuclear plant. In addition to the closed-loop water systems that transfer heat from the two reactor vessels, the plant uses 20,000 gallons of water per minute from the river -- 0.6% of the river's average flow, according to the plant's publicity materials (SusquehannaNuclearEnergyGuide200904updated.pdf). The Riverside Trail loops around from the main parking lot, just off U.S. Route 11, winding through the woods and then parallelling the river before swinging back around inland; within the loop, farmers plant corn and other crops. This view looks southwest from the northeast corner of the property, across a harvested cornfield. The twin cooling towers of the plant, each 540 feet tall, sit just beyond the ridge, evaporating 20,000 gallons of water per minute and creating this cloud.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Camera: NIKON D810
Copyright: © Oren Helbok