Romanian Water Cooling Towers
Periş (Mureş), Romania
A strange sight seen several times as we've ridden the Romanian rails has been that of massive cooling towers, often a stone's throw away from the tracks. I suppose that I, like many people, associate these industrial landmarks with nuclear power plants, however know that Romania is still known as being a heavy polluter in the world of coal-burning power. It's just odd seeing them in this setting—quite unexpected.
The large cooling towers often identified with nuclear power plants are separate from such plants' reactors and do not discharge radioactivity. Cooling towers are also used by power plants fueled by coal or petroleum. These towers add greatly to the cost of power plants; however, the alternative of discharging large volumes of heated water into lakes and rivers has been proved detrimental to the environment.