Friday, November 07, 2008

Perhaps Apple Could Design a Nuclear Power Plant?

Ales_Bursic_1 One thing you can say about nuclear power plants - or any industrial structure - is that they are not inspiring pieces of architecture. Obviously, the message they want to project is one of functionality, not aestheticism. But people actually do work at plants and many more see them from their cars and boats. So why not spruce them up? Given the cost of the average new plant, why not splash out a little extra and have a chance of getting your plant into a glossy magazine?

So it is that World Nuclear News has invited its readers to submit plant designs. We suspect the most imaginative entries come from people who know how to use Bryce and 3DS Max rather than architects, but they do indicate tremendous imagination and a desire to plant plants on the plants, er, we mean, give nature a certain run of the grounds. The design pictured above, by Aleš Buršič, shows this at work. Another design, shown at the WNN site, shows a cooling tower covered with a grassy drop cloth.

We suspect, by the way, that if Apple did design a plant, it would be white, squat and square. But somehow they make that work.


Harold Asmis said...

I think that would only cost an extra billion or so. You'd have to bury all those nasty power lines!

GRLCowan said...

You'd have to bury all those nasty power lines!

What power lines?

--- G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996

Brian Mays said...

Well, personally, I think that Gia Milinovich had a pretty good idea two years ago: paint the cooling towers sky blue. It doesn't require a major overhaul in the design of the plant, just a fresh coat of paint.

In fact, painting cooling towers is not a new idea at all. The French have already done it, but then again, leave it to the French to recognize the value of art and decor.

In fact, I think that the picture of the plant's four cooling towers on the Wikipedia page is rather pretty. The only aesthetic complaint that I can make about this plant is that EdF has recently added a couple of ugly wind turbines right next door (they're taller than the containment buildings and almost as tall as the cooling towers), which partially block the view of the mural on the side of the cooling tower. What a shame.

Matthew66 said...

The good thing about siting windmills around a nuclear power plant is that if someone is stupid enough to think that they can damage a nuclear power plant by crashing a commercial airliner into it, the windmills act like tank traps. So, while the windmills will make a negligible contribution to the electric grid, they are a moderately priced, politically convenient, security measure.

Kirk Sorensen said...

...on the other hand, those same windmills are FAR more likely to throw a blade into the containment dome than the likelyhood of an aircraft attack.

Robert Synnott said...

Kirk: And if it did any damage, then the designer would be criminally negligent. :)

I dunno, I think quite a few modern nuclear plants are already quite pretty. There's a stunning one on an island in a river in France, and Sizewell B is quite nice, too. Especially in comparison with Sizewell A, which came from the deliberately hideous 60s school of architecture.

simplesimons said...

Why not? Once upon a time (back when the public expected more from its public works), power plant designers hired only the best architects for their facilities:
Hoover Dam

Anonymous said...

The Taiwanese also paint their plants to blend in more with the countryside. The ones I saw were all situated in some awesome surroundings and the plants and stacks were painted with mountains, sky and clouds.

Anonymous said...

As a designer of the "blended plant", I have to say the following:
1. It was designed in Blender-textured with a help of Gimp, so actually anyone can do it, software isn't a limitation.
2. Power lines are just not designed (you could have them burried or as usuall - above the ground)

author: Aleš Buršič