Drone Flies Over Old Nuclear Power Plant

Posted by
July 29, 2014

Flying over a nuclear power plant is not the smartest idea, unless you live in Washington that is.

As you probably know, it’s very illegal to fly over a nuclear power plant. The no-fly-zone for a nuclear power plant stretches for miles and thousands of feet high, so even flying near one would be a very bad idea. but that isn’t a problem for this Phantom 2 pilot. The reason why it was ok to fly here is because this massive 500 foot structure is one of two cooling towers in the Satsop power plant, a reactor that was never fully operational. The power plant started construction in the year 1977 and was stopped due to budget issues in 1983. In 1995 they decided to reuse the power plant as the Satsop Development Park (high tech office space). Branden Roseborough (the drone pilot) said that he talked with the business owners at the park and they had no problem with him flying there.

It was planned. I talked a buddy of mine into getting out there at 5am for the sunrise and to avoid bothering any business that happens in the area. We drive down to skydive frequently and know there’s typically some kind of fog or cloud cover but didn’t know how perfect the conditions would be. We got really lucky with the location of the fog. I had clear visibility directly over the site with no wind. We chatted with some of the business owners who have businesses in the park there and a security guard, all of whom were very friendly and had no issues with us being there.

The drone he use was a DJI F500 with a Naza M V2 flight controller. Obviously he was also using a GoPro and a brushless gimbal (most likely the H3-3D).

I must admit, as the music plays and the fog rolls in through the trees, this video can be quite suspenseful to watch. the shots of the tower itself were probably pretty easy to take, but the whole atmosphere in general makes this a great video.

The video


It’s interesting that they turned a nuclear power plant into a businesses complex, but after doing some research I found that it’s not uncommon for these plants to be repurposed. They can actually be used for all kinds of things from banks to amusement parks. They’re also amazing structures for movie sets and great photo opportunities.

Another video


Here’s another video by someone else in a foreign country looking inside some cooling towers. I’m not exactly sure where this is, but one of them appears to be active?

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