Radioactive waste is too hot to be disposed of, which is why it has to be stored temporarily for decades to cool down. The interim storage facility (Zwilag) in Switzerland is located in Würenlingen in the canton of Aargau.


An important part of the work at a nuclear power plant is its decommissioning. When the decision is made to shut a nuclear power plant down, the real work begins. In Lubmin, home to what was once the largest nuclear power plant in the former GDR, you can see precisely what is meant by a nuclear phase-out.


Sweden and Finland have come very far in the search for a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste. In Finland, it is already being built.


Two-thirds of all nuclear power plants currently being built are located in China, India and Russia. In Europe, the construction of the next generation of nuclear power plants has become an adventure with an uncertain outcome as can be seen with the French nuclear power plant Flamanville: there have been construction delays and cost increases in the billions with the third generation EPR pressurised water reactor. And with AREVA, they have the same builder as the Olkiluoto-3 plant in Finland, where costs are also getting out of hand. Flamanville should have been built between 2007 and 2012. Costs were estimated at the start of construction at 3.3 billion euros. They have since risen by their own admission to nearly 11 billion euros, and the plant is not expected to go into operation before 2018. If at all: the French nuclear regulators Autorité de sûreté nucléaire have criticised the concrete mixture for a number of years already. Now the safety inspectors are targeting the steel beams, too. The UK wants to build Hinkley Point C in southwestern England at a record price of 8,000 dollars per kilowatt. This will result in a total cost of close to 12 billion euros. These official estimates are to be compared to other projections, such as those from the EU that start at over 30 billion euros. Various countries are already suing against the subsidies hidden in the package. Due to all of these difficulties, the French energy minister Ségolène Royal at the end of February 2016 hastily extended the operating terms of the 58 nuclear power plants from 40 to 50 years, a practice that is now being followed across Europe and the US. Vendors but also buyers of nuclear power plants generally need an investment guarantee to be able to build a plant in the first place. This is complicated, which is why vendors are joining forces. Large consortia have to behave as partners with governments, which further delays planning. As it seems as though promising projects can only be built in emerging markets such as China and India.

Mycle Schneider, Energy Consultant, Paris, France: "Nuclear energy is no longer competitive"

Bo Qiang Lin, Economist, China: “Do we have an alternative?”

Sustainable energy is enjoying a strong upswing. Investments in renewable energy in 2014 saw concrete investments of 270 billion dollars. The overall share of renewable energy has even reached 22 per cent, whereas nuclear energy contributes 10 per cent to global electricity requirements.

In March 2016, the Swiss Energy Foundation organised a conference in Zurich on the subject of the nuclear phase-out.

When a site has finally been chosen as a repository for nuclear waste, the population has to be won over. This is a difficult task.

Cutting of the Documentary "Into Eternity" (2010)

Who we are

Founded in 2012, the Association for Sustainable Journalism on the Internet is committed to high-quality, independent on-line journalism that stands the test of time. The association promotes and runs journalistic websites dedicated to topics that are hardly covered any more in conventional media. Its members include journalists, photographers, designers and web designers.

Pressbüro Seegrund, which was founded in 1989, is firmly established in the media landscape. Its focus is on feature reports, reportage and non-fiction books. It has launched a number of online magazines in recent years including www.alpenmagazin.org www.mangel-und-moral.org and the latest creation www.mensch-und-atom.org.

About

Publisher:
Association for Sustainable Journalism in Internet
Neugasse 30
CH-9000 St. Gallen

Editor:
Pressebüro Seegrund,
Neugasse 30, PO Box 445,
CH-9004 St. Gallen,
Tel. +41(0)71 671 10 73,
www.seegrund.ch

letters to the editor:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We would like to thank Susanne and Stefan Ganzoni for their financial support

Website design and programming:
Eveline Arnold Ukaegbu, Proclamation,
Zypressenstrasse 138,
CH-8004 Zürich,
www.proclamation.ch

English translation:
Elana Summers

Russian translation:
Alexej Scherbakov

Local interpretors:

Galina Kovalch (Belarus),
Irina Gasanova (Ukraine), Chikako Yamamoto (Japan)

Authors:
Martin Arnold, freelance journalist, author and media entrepreneur for the past 30 years, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Urs Fitze, freelance journalist, reportage on politics, the economy, science, travel and the environment, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Our Aim

Without provoking or causing a scandal, www.society-and-the-atom.org wants to shake things up a bit by encouraging society to reflect on a subject that affects all of us: nuclear power. It is a subject that polarises, turning opponents and supporters into ideologues. And it is a subject that divides the informed and the uninformed in a way that creates intentional and unintentional dependencies. Against the background of the current debates on the 'energy transition', we want to contribute a critical discussion for all those who want to more know about nuclear power. And we want to do our bit to overcome the deep ideological divide that separates supporters and opponents. When it comes to this subject, the truth very quickly becomes relative – or is made relative. You move around in an area where experts, opinion makers, ideologues, affected persons, victims, lobbyists, politicians and world saviours jostle against each other. Everyone should be able to have their say, to tell their truth. The truth of the radiation victims as well as that of the power plant operators, the supporters and the opponents. The second objective of the book is to explore the many facets of truth – and remain receptive to all those who want to make it comfortable for us.

 

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