Nuclear Reactor Cooling Towers | Building Demolition | BlowDown | S01 E01

Sep 9, 2023 | Technology, Videos

If you’re looking for a thrilling documentary that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Blowdown is just what you need! The four-part series follows Controlled Demolition Inc. of Phoenix, Maryland through some of their most challenging demolition projects, both notable and notorious.
In the first episode, the team travels to Sellafield, England to take down four outdated cooling towers on the site of the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor. Not only is the team faced with structural and explosive challenges, but navigating bureaucratic hurdles adds to the tension. Explosives have never been used on an active nuclear site in the United Kingdom, and it took four years to obtain the necessary approvals.
Each of the towers is 88m high and has an estimated mass of 5,200 tons. With the towers only 40 meters away from a nuclear fuel handling plant, the stakes are high. The documentary highlights the steady deterioration of the towers and concerns of an inadvertent collapse. Explosive demolition is determined to be the safest and most cost-effective means of removing the towers.
The team loads each tower with three sets of explosives in a careful plan to prevent harm and minimize risk to the surrounding site. Over 4,500 charges are rigged and timed to go off within a drop zone for minimal impact on the nuclear facility. The team must weigh each risk, real or imagined, to account for it all in the plan. The risks include projectiles, ground vibration, and air overpressure, which might compromise operations at the nuclear facility.
The entire sequence must be completed within ten days before the actual demolition. The team must account for every possible aspect of the demolition, which makes the entire operation all the more thrilling.
If you’re interested in seeing the action for yourself, you don’t have to look any further than Blowdown. Put it on your watch-list and get ready for an explosive and exciting journey!

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David B