[En images] When the “industrial snow” falls around the Cattenom nuclear power plant

This is called “industrial snow”. A relatively rare phenomenon which surprised the inhabitants of Cattenom in Moselle. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, February 9, about twenty centimeters of snow fell within a radius of 10 kilometers around a nuclear power plant. Unexpected precipitation due to the combination of a mass of cold air and water vapor emanating from the cooling towers of the industrial site.

(Photo credit: PQR / Le Républicain Lorrain / Pierre Heckler)

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“Small, compact balls, similar to polystyrene”

Interviewed by the Republican Lorrain, the inhabitants were surprised by the appearance of the flakes, evoking “small compact balls, similar to polystyrene”. According to Meteo France, “These snowfalls occur in calm and cold weather in the presence of a powerful winter anticyclone with a strong temperature inversion (…). Pollution linked to industries, traffic, heating devices comes to charge the air ambient humidity but also small solid particles called condensation nuclei. At negative temperature and in the absence of wind, water vapor attaches to these nuclei, freezes and turns into snow. “

As human emissions are not taken into account in meteorological models, the phenomenon is almost impossible to predict. In 2017, Ile-de-France had experienced snowfall, this time linked to urban activity, in particular the fine particles rejected by factories and private chimneys.


Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.

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