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Hundreds of Locals Gather to Watch Didcot Cooling Tower Demolition

What is cooling tower

The danger of a 180 kilograms of explosives didn’t stop locals from flocking to the site of the Didcot cooling tower demolition on Sunday.

The three massive cooling towers were a historic Oxfordshire landmark for 40 years, but were also voted Britain’s biggest eyesore in 2003 and belonged to power station that was taken off the grid last March.

Cooling towers are tall concrete towers used for cooling water or condensing steam from industrial processes by transferring waste heat into the atmosphere. This allows cool water circulation systems like those used in oil refineries, chemical plants, thermal power stations and HVAC systems to remain cool and effective while heat is expelled out of the top of the tower.

Safety officials cautioned civilians to stay at home and watch the controlled demolition on Coleman and Company’s livestream the morning of Sunday, July 27th, but very few listened. In fact, several car parks opened specifically to accommodate spectators, who arrived in the hundreds the night before. Many were playing variations of The Final Countdown to lighten the mood.

As the industrial cooling towers collapsed in a cloud of dust and debris, cheering and applause could be heard around the towers and #DidcotDemolition trended on twitter. Several homemade videos appeared online in addition to the company-sponsored livestream.

The people in charge of the demolition stood by their decision to stage the demolition at 5 a.m., in spite of a 3,000-signature petition that asked for it to be done in daylight so everyone could watch. They hoped to minimize crowds, but it didn’t deter most locals from showing up anyway.

Even though the towers at Didcot overstayed their welcome, cooling tower systems are still in wide use throughout the world, from small roof units for HVAC systems to the world’s tallest cooling tower at Kalisindh Thermal Power Plant in Jhalawar, Rajasthan, India.

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