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10 days after people, Every 18 months the uranium fuel rods in the reactor core stops producing enough energy to sustain a nuclear reaction and must be replaced. When the fuel rods are removed they are dangerously hot, up to 2000 degrees, and must be placed in cooling pools. The fuel rods were kept in these pools for ten years before they could be safely removed. There is actually more radiation contained in the cooling pools than there is in the reactor. It takes 40 feet of water maintained at below 120 degrees to keep the fuel rods from overheating. Now the heat of the fuel rods has boiled all the water away and the fuel rods catch fire and burn. The equivalent of 20 cores worth of radiation is released into the environment and nothing is safe for miles.
1 year after people, The areas around nuclear power plants have been devastated. There are now large irradiated dead zones for up to a mile radius around nuclear power plants.175 years after people, The cooling pool fires at nuclear power plants went out long ago and life has returned to the dead zones. The power plants themselves are now structurally unstable. The most iconic structures in a nuclear power plant were the cooling towers. A steel lattice ring at the base supports the 50 foot tall concrete cooling tower but after nearly two centuries of corrosion the steel lattice ring doesn’t have any strength left. The cooling towers now fail at the base and tip over and humanity’s mighty power plants of the future are reduced to rubble.