New Scientist reports that the cooling towers of nuclear power plants “could be evolutionary hotspots for new respiratory diseases.”
It’s architecture as a stimulus for Darwinian novelty.
[Image: Didcot power station; from Wikipedia].
The “warm, wet conditions” inside the towers have been found to host “several previously unknown strains of bacteria, including some that were similar to Legionella pneumophila, the cause of legionnaires’ disease.” The scientist behind this discovery warns that cooling towers are thus a source of pathogenic “aerosols” – invisible germ-clouds blowing out from their architectural origins to infect the lungs of animals nearby.
This nuclear landscape of concrete hyperboloids belching steam, and virulent microbes, into the sky should therefore “be monitored for emerging pathogens.” Super-germs. Radioactive pneumonia.
Sci-fi novelists, heads up: a new plot beckons.