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article imageHow do you dismantle a power plant's cooling towers? Watch this

By Karen Graham     Jun 17, 2018 in World
Jacksonville - For a moment, after the demolition plunger went down, the mighty cooling towers at St. Johns River Power Park stood as if they would remain for another 30 years as Jacksonville, Florida landmarks. In about five seconds, it was all over.
It was an event that drew crowds from all around the Jacksonville, Florida area, akin to the launch of the space shuttle. The two cooling towers stood 464 feet tall, the rough equivalent of 33-story buildings.
After the traditional count backward to one, time paused, for just a tick of the watch and then came the large blast that sent the towers to the ground amid a huge cloud of smoke and dust that gushed out, engulfing nearby trees,
The crowds cheered wildly as the iconic towers that had dominated the Northside skyline disappeared. In the crowd, a child's voice was heard, excitedly exclaiming --"Do it again."
Former Jacksonville Mayor Jake Godbold, who helped usher in the St. Johns River Power Park during his time at City Hall, was present for the demolition. He was amazed at how fast the implosion was and remarked on the finality.
“All I could think about was how hard it was to put it up and how much time it took to build it, and then in just five seconds, it was over,” he said as the concrete dust billowed. “It was the end of an era.”
Jacksonville Electric Authority and Florida Power & Light contracted Total Wrecking & Environmental, a demolition contractor in Erie County, New York to handle the implosion of the cooling towers and the demolition of the power park for $14.5 million. The demolition project is expected to be complete in 2020.
Preparation for the implosion took about 10 weeks. Over 1,500 pounds of dynamite and 12,000 linear feet of detonation wire were used to produce the blast that brought the second tallest cooling towers to be imploded in the world to the ground.
St. Johns River Power Park
St. Johns River Power Park (SJRPP) occupied 1,600 acres and was constructed in the 1980s — a six-year undertaking that cost $1.45 billion. The large coal-fired electric generating plant featuring two turbine/generators that supplied 632,000 KW to the transmission grid. The facility was jointly owned by Jacksonville Electric Authority and Florida Power & Light.
There is a bit of interesting history on the events leading up to the construction of the coal-fired power plant at that time. The oil embargo of the 1970s dramatically increased prices which caused JEA electric rates to spike to the second-highest in the nation.
Blount Island Marine Terminal where coal was shipped in from Colombia  South America.
Blount Island Marine Terminal where coal was shipped in from Colombia, South America.
U.S. Marine Corps
It got so bad that the utility’s meter readers reported being shot at just because they worked for JEA, reports So JEA wanted to get rid of its reliance on oil as a fuel source.
According to AEP, coal to fuel the facility was shipped from Colombia, South America and unloaded at a Blount Island facility owned and operated by the plant. When at maximum capacity, the plant used 4.5 million tons of coal a year.
Unit 1 began commercial production March 27, 1987. Unit 2 was completed a year later and began its operation May 27, 1988. As for a dedicated and loyal workforce, many employees were working at the plant before it was finished and didn't leave until it was decommissioned 30 years later, in January 2018.
More about cooling towers, implosion, St Johns River Power Park, decommissioned, coalfired power plant
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