Power stations

Why I will miss our mighty cooling towers – and I suspect I am not alone

One afternoon earlier this summer we drove through Rugeley in Staffordshire. There, looming above the A51, were the cooling towers of the power station: a pinkish red, resembling terracotta, with curving convex sides, like modernist vases on a pharaonic scale. At 385 feet high, they were a little taller than the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. We remarked on how surprisingly good they looked as we passed them on 4 June, en route to a spot in the Staffordshire countryside where we were going to stay. On 6 June there was a distant rumble like thunder but we thought little of it. However, that evening when we glanced at the