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    A Nuclear Power Plant Made Snow Fallout in Pennsylvania

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    If you live in Pennsylvania, some of the snow that gently fell upon your town last night was probably made by a nuclear power plant.

    You're looking at Doppler radar catching a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant in the act of making snow--that's a band of snow being created by steam let off of the Beaver Valley generating station. It's a pretty rare event, evidently, but easily explained by science. 

    Over at the Capitol City Weather Gang, meteorologist Jason Samenow explains why it happens: 

    "The ultra cold air streaming in from the northwest interacted with the hot steam emitted from the plant resulting in condensation, cloud formation and precipitation. I’ve never seen this particular phenomenon observed before but it makes physical sense."

    He also points us to this video of the principle in action, in which a Siberian man tosses boiling water out of his window--and it's cold enough that he instantly makes snow:

    That was happening on a scale of nuclear-powered proportions. To me, the incident illustrates the massive amount of energy we're losing as heat in the nuclear process--ideally, we should be capturing and bottling that stuff up, especially in the winter. And some cities already do--Copenhagen's district heating system is a great example.