Zwentendorf, The Nuclear Energy Plant That Was By no means Turned On

Zwentendorf, The Nuclear Power Plant That Was Never Turned On


The Zwentendorf Nuclear Energy Plant, situated on the financial institution of the Danube River, about 20 miles northwest of Vienna, is Austria’s solely nuclear energy plant. It was accomplished in 1978, loaded with gas, and able to begin up. However then, the nation determined that it didn’t belief nuclear vitality anymore, and the venture was mothballed. It’s the solely fully completed nuclear reactor that by no means went on-line.

Photograph: Isaak/Flickr

The Zwentendorf plant was meant to be the primary of three nuclear vegetation accredited by the Austrian authorities within the late Nineteen Sixties. With a capability of 700 MW, it was anticipated to meet about one tenth of Austria’s electrical energy demand.

Development of the plant began in 1972, and between that 12 months and 1978, the 12 months it was accomplished, roughly a billion {dollars} have been spent in its building. The dedication to nuclear vitality was fierce, and this allegiance was additional cemented by the 1973 oil disaster, which led Chancellor Bruno Kreisky to strengthen his stance on nuclear energy.

The Zwentendorf energy plant was designed as a boiling water reactor with a single cooling circuit, which means that the reactor core heats water which then turns to steam and this radioactive steam leaves the reactor corridor to drive the generators. Zwentendorf didn’t have the standard cooling towers of a nuclear energy plant because it was designed to chill the steam with the water of the Danube river. Though it was meant to be state-of-the-art at the moment, the reactor suffered from many safety design flaws, such because the emergency backup energy being positioned outdoors and thus susceptible to flooding. Two energy vegetation in Germany with the identical design as Zwentendorf have already been shut down completely by mechanical issues.

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Photograph: Raimund Appel/Flickr

The Zwentendorf plant had a troubled starting. Scarcely two weeks had handed after floor was damaged, when a strong earthquake hit the area damaging the facility plant’s basis, which needed to be torn down and new concrete was poured. Then, throughout a Danube flood, water seeped into its containment vessel, indicating the presence of leakages which meant that within the occasion of a meltdown, the groundwater wouldn’t be protected against contamination. Moreover, no plans have been made for the disposal of nuclear waste. The unique thought had been to bury it in deep underneath the Alps, however the villages on the chosen web site vehemently protested. The Austrians tried promoting the waste to Hungary, Egypt, and China, for reuse, however all refused.

With mounting criticism to nuclear energy, the federal government was compelled to carry a referendum to resolve whether or not to begin the Zwentendorf plant. On November 5, 1978, 1.6 million individuals voted towards the nuclear energy plant, representing 50.5 % of the voters. The win margin was slim, however the distinction was sufficient to seal the destiny of the facility plant.

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A customer inspects the management panel on the management room of the Zwentendorf energy plant. Photograph: Raimund Appel/Flickr

For the following seven years, till 1985, the facility plant was stored in working situation, ought to the thoughts of the individuals change. However the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986 dashed any hopes of working the plant ever once more. Quickly after the incident, the federal government started partially dismantling the facility plant. Some components have been offered to German nuclear companies however the general facility continues to be in pristine situation. The plant’s present proprietor makes use of the advanced as a safety coaching heart and infrequently leases it out to occasion organizers and film producers to make use of it as a film backdrop.

References:
# Donella Meadows, Zwentendorf, A Nuclear Plant that Will By no means Be Turned On, Donella Meadows
# Joshua Koeb, Nuclear Energy Plant Zwentendorf, Nonument
# William Buchanan, Zwentendorf and the Austrian Anti-Nuclear Motion, Stanford
# Stefan Probst, Tour by way of the non-operative Nuclear Powerplant “Zwentendorf”, Stefan Probst



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