PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear industry cooling tower. Steam rising from a cooling tower at a nuclear-powered uranium enrichment factory. Uranium enrichment requires large amounts of energy, but this is outweighed by the energy produced from the nuclear fuel that is produced. Cooling towers are used to dispose of waste heat from industrial processes. The waste energy is absorbed by water, which is sprayed into the cooling tower where it evaporates. Some of the water condenses and is reused, and some is lost as water vapour into the atmosphere. Disposing of excess heat into the atmosphere is more efficient than discharging hot water into rivers and lakes. This is Eurodif's George Besse factory, at the Tricastin site in southern France. Photographed in 2004.
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