Ferrovial On the Road with Ferrovial. José Manuel Ballester

Engineering the indivisible

Extremadura, Spain

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The world is made up of invisible particles. These elements are so small that it’s hard for us to imagine them. Still, they’re capable of releasing so much energy that it takes all the power engineering has to offer to control them. These atoms make nuclear energy possible. In some cases, they release such a huge amount of heat that a huge water reservoir is needed to cool them.

Seen from a distance, most of the planet’s nuclear power plants can be spotted by their large chimneys, topped with clouds of white vapor. These are the cooling towers, which are necessary to control the temperature of the water that’s used in the plant and the water that’s returned to the natural environment – clean, of course. Since 2012, the Almaraz nuclear power plant has had 20 new cooling towers to ensure that the water discharged into the Torrejón-Tagus reservoir isn’t over 30ºC (86ºF).

This chimney system hasn’t been the only work Ferrovial’s done at the Almaraz plant. Construction on the Fukushima slab, a concrete slab that can withstand earthquakes and protect the integrity of security systems, is another of the biggest projects that have been done. In fact, most of the work done at the plant over the last decade has aimed to adapt the facility to the new regulations after the Fukushima accident in 2011.

As part of that project, new foundations were built for the equipment, as was a new network of underground electrical gutters, both equipped with earthquake features. New metal towers that are resistant to seismic activity also were erected for the emergency communications system called the TETRA system.

Reinforced underground pipes, protection systems for the environmental monitoring network, an earthquake-resistant rainwater network… All of the power of engineering to confine a particle with still greater power, a particle so small that we thought it was indivisible for centuries.

Almaraz Central, Extremadura (Spain)

Almaraz Central, Extremadura (Spain)

  • Spain
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