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[cdn-nucl-l] Also district heating! Beznau II nuclear reactor to stay online
I toured the Beznau Station in 1989 when I was working on the design of a 10
MW reactor for district heating. The Beznau Station was immaculate and
seemed to be very well managed.
Some of its steam was diverted to the "Refuna" district heating plant, which
pumped hot water to heat the homes in nearby villages (~20 km away). The
residents were delighted with the clean, economical energy.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 8:37 PM
Subject: [MbrExchange] EnLG 2004dec3 Beznau II Nuclear reactor to stay
Nuclear reactor to stay online
The government has given a power company unlimited authorisation to operate
a controversial nuclear reactor in northern Switzerland.
Green groups say the authorities have surrendered to the demands of the
nuclear lobby, which is pushing for more power plants.
The Beznau II reactor has been operating since the early 1970s
The authorities gave the green light to the continued operation of the
Beznau II reactor on Friday, despite opposition from the German and Austrian
governments as well as environmental organisations such as Greenpeace.
The government said it based its decision on advice from its nuclear
security division as well as the Federal Committee on Nuclear Security.
Greenpeace claims that the reactor, which went online in 1971, is ten times
more likely to melt down than another reactor at the Gösgen plan which was
built nearly a decade later.
But the energy ministry said the decision would encourage the operator to
invest in upgrading the plant and improving safety at the reactor site.
The Swiss Energy Foundation (SEF), which has been lobbying against nuclear
power for 30 years, says the authorities have given in to the powerful
economic interests of power-plant operators.
Green Party parliamentarian and SEF president Geri Müller expressed doubt
that any power company granted unlimited authorisation to manage a nuclear
reactor would "invest in expensive safety measures".
He also questioned whether a recent move to distribute iodine tablets to
households living near the reactor was "enough to ensure people's safety".
The government has made it clear that authorisation to operate the reactor
can be withdrawn at any time if it decides that security is insufficient at
Greenpeace argues that the criteria that have to be fulfilled to force the
closure of a reactor need to be clearly established. The SEF also warns that
there are no clearly defined safety levels.
Authorisation for Beznau II, along with the Mühleberg reactor near the
capital, Bern, has until now only been granted for fixed periods of time.
The three other Swiss reactors - Beznau I, Gösgen and Leibstadt - already
benefited from unlimited authorisations.
Leibstadt was the last Swiss nuclear power plant to open in 1984. Plans to
build another reactor in Kaiseraugst, not far from Basel, were abandoned
following widespread opposition during the 1980s.
The Swiss do not appear ready to abandon nuclear power. Last year voters
rejected two initiatives calling for an official end to nuclear power and a
moratorium on nuclear-plant construction.
Recently, pressure on the government to consider new plants has increased,
with power companies warning that current nuclear reactors will have to be
decommissioned by 2020.
Dori Schaer, who headed a government committee that laid the groundwork for
Switzerland's planned electricity law, says the power companies have a
"We don't know how to replace the power supplied by the nuclear reactors
when they are finally switched off," she told swissinfo.
"Renewable energy sources have failed to live up to their billing and cost
too much. Given that it takes over ten years to authorise and build a new
plant, time is of the essence."