Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant

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Nuclear power station at Zwentendorf, Austria (2004)
The Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant during the Save the World Awards in 2009

The Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant was the first nuclear plant built in Austria, of 6 nuclear plants originally envisaged. The plant at Zwentendorf, Austria was finished, but never operated. Start-up of the Zwentendorf plant, as well as construction of the other 5 plants, was prevented by a referendum on 5 November 1978. A narrow majority of 50.47% voted against the start-up.[1][2]

Construction of the plant began in April 1972, as a boiling-water reactor rated at 692 megawatts electric power output. It was built by a joint venture of several Austrian electric power utilities, and was envisioned as the first of several nuclear power plants to be built. The initial cost of the plant was around 14 billion Austrian schilling, about 1 billion Euros today.[3] The ventilation stack chimney of the plant is 110 metres tall. The plant has been partly dismantled. Since 1978 Austria has a law prohibiting fission reactors for electrical power generation.

The Dürnrohr Power Station was built nearby as a replacement thermal power station.

Following the 1978 referendum, no nuclear power plant that was built for the purpose of producing electricity ever went into operation in Austria. However, three small nuclear reactors for scientific purposes have been built and used since the 1960s, with one still being in operation.[4]

Current use[edit]

Today, the reactor is used to provide spare parts to the three similar German power plants Isar 1, Brunsbüttel or Philippsburg 1. It is also used to train operator personnel by the Kraftwerksschule e.V. The current operator offers the possibility to visit the complex.

The plant has been bought by Austrian energy company EVN Group in 2005 and established a security training centre. [5] Furthermore, a Solar Power Plant has been constructed on the premises, which has gone into operation on June 25, 2009. After completion, 1000 solar panels on the face of the building and on the lot will provide approximately 180 MWh of electricity per year.

In 2010, together with the Technical University Vienna, the Photovoltaik-Forschungszentrum Zwentendorf has been founded. Part of this is a 190 kW photovoltaic system, consisting of two modules with solar tracking assemblies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Austria's no to nuclear power Peter Weish
  2. ^ Austria‘s Anti-Nuclear Crusade Euro Nuclear
  3. ^ Zwentendorf atomic power plant AKW Zwentendorf
  4. ^ General Atomics TRIGA Mark-II Scientific reactor operated by the Technical University Vienna
  5. ^ "Snakes on a plant". World Nuclear News. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°21′16″N 15°53′05″E / 48.3544°N 15.8847°E / 48.3544; 15.8847