Hartsville Nuclear Plant – Hartsville, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura
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Hartsville Nuclear Plant

Hartsville, Tennessee

This abandoned nuclear cooling tower casts a shadow over a bucolic town. 

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Planning for the next century’s electrical needs, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) broke ground on the Hartsville Nuclear Plant in 1975.

At the time, the plant would be the world’s largest nuclear plant. Amid much controversy, the sleepy town boomed with construction workers and new businesses that catered to the growing population. Just under a decade later, the decision was made to halt the entire project. Outside the four planned generators, there were a few buildings partially constructed. Various crews later dismantled most of the power plant. 

The boomtown went bust and mostly things went back to rural life for residents, except for the iconic nuclear cooling tower. Some refer to this tower as a giant empty beercan looming over the forests and pastures. Eventually, TVA gave up most of the land for business development. 

Know Before You Go

A short drive from Hartsville heading east on Highway 25 will lead you to Powercom Industrial Park, turn south into the park and take the first left. When you come to a four-way stop, turn left again and find Smith Way with most of the abandoned buildings. Walking next to the public roadway should be fine, but take trespassing signs seriously.