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Now a leisure park: the "fast breeder" reactor at Kalkar

Now a leisure park: the "fast breeder" reactor at Kalkar
Source: dpa

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Breeding discontent!

In Kalkar, on 1 April 1973, work begins on a fast-breeder - a nuclear power station designed to produce more plutonium than it needs. No, it's not an April Fool's joke.

The bulletChernobyl disaster lies a long way into the future, and most people still associate progress in energy provision with the spread of nuclear power.

Great claims are made of fast-breeders. They are supposed to produce more bulletenergy than they need, and the one to be built near Hamm-Uentrop is a prototype high-temperature reactor that will not only produce electricity but also help the ailing bulletcoal industry!

Sounds crazy, but the experts are serious: with the heat generated by the reactor, coal is to be gasified and converted into new heating fuel.

Construction starts in 1971 and is not completed until 1983. It is not until 1985 that the first electricity is fed into the grid.

But the power plant is soon dogged by a series of hazardous incidents. Public protests against the Kalkar are crowned with success in 1989 when it has to be decommissioned.

Today, the fast-breeder has been converted into an amusement park - a very expensive one at that! The plant, which only operates for 16,500 hours, costs around DM 4.5 billion. About three-quarters of this sum came out of the public purse.

Dirk Bitzer

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