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The arguments The facts The accident The end!?


How was it back then with the THTR?

by Werner Neubauer

At the beginning of the 1980s, an acquaintance who was involved in the local 'anti-nuclear power movement' asked me whether I would not have the time and inclination to come to a demonstration against the THTR.

My 'lust for politics' was kept within narrow limits and I never had enough time anyway, but this person had really good ones Arguments and just didn't give up. At some point, it must have been one of my weaker days, he actually made it and I trudged along. It was a sunny spring Sunday, so why not go for a walk and see a nuclear power station up close; there are actually more boring things.


Since the mid-1940s, massive human-generated radioactive radiation has been released.

See: INES - The international rating scale and list of nuclear accidents worldwide

Based on this data, I created the following map:

- The map of the nuclear world -

The map of the atomic world - Google Maps! - Status of processing at the time of publicationThe map of the atomic world - Google Maps! - Status of processing in October 2016From uranium mining and processing, to nuclear research, the construction and operation of nuclear facilities, including accidents in nuclear power plants, to handling uranium ammunition, nuclear weapons and nuclear waste.
- Worldwide, almost, everything at a glance with Google Maps -


This walk was then also quite pleasant, the people sometimes looked a bit daring, but there were also quite 'normal citizens' there. So we looked at each other with big eyes and certainly some of these exotic people thought "Well, what chaos ... hopefully nobody will see me here" ;-)

Be that as it may, I found this mixture of Christians, atheists, political, apolitical, convinced and doubters not uninteresting, entertained me well and therefore had nothing against repeating the walk on one of the following Sundays.

The resistance was often a lonely event, especially on rainy days.
Sunday walk in the rain - three resisters and about 12 policemen in five police cars

It's good that the police were always reliable and on time


Soon I began to be interested in the real reason for these Sunday walks and to get information about the technical details of this nuclear power plant, which is awe-inspiring due to its sheer size - with its 3 meter high concrete wall reminiscent of a fortress. The information texts from HKG (Hoch Temperatur-Kernkraftwerk GmbH) were rather meager, but from every sentence spoke the certainty 'We have everything under control, let's take it easy'.

Nothing to swear to the engineer ...

Very worrying for me, because during my training as a materials tester I had often faced the same mentality and knew from experience that the more arrogant you gentlemen, the less your conscience is your own.

They seem to be the first to learn how to delegate responsibility to others.

This rather diffuse, uncomfortable feeling and several conversations with so-called 'responsible persons' made me more and more suspicious and one thing became increasingly clear to me - 'I have to know more' - because I did not want to be fooled or demonstrated because I was probably over had insufficient specialist knowledge.

So I knelt as well as I could into the matter and soon saw where the weak points of the Arguments in favor of atomic energy were and still are today.



The arguments The facts The accident The end!?

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Murphy's Law (analogous):

If something can go wrong, it will eventually go wrong.


Arguments against the nuclear industry:

1.) The completely unclear disposal of radioactive waste

Who can put their hand in the fire for the development of the situation in the next 5, 50 or even 50.000 years?


2.) Man

This unpredictable but all-important factor 'human' has apparently not been included in any of your considerations. In theory everything may be clear, but in practice people have a hand in the game and how you know when a mistake, a mishap or a donkey happens says human:

'Oh sorry, I'm really sorry, but I did my best and therefore cannot be held responsible ...'


3.) The insurance cover for nuclear facilities is not nearly sufficient

Amazingly or not, there is insufficient insurance coverage for Akws. Insuring the operation of a nuclear power plant to a sufficient extent would entail such high insurance premiums that the operation of a nuclear power plant would no longer be worthwhile.

The 'Insurance forums Leipzig GmbH' had already in 2011, on behalf of 'BEE - Federal Association for Renewable Energy', a comprehensive'Study of insurance needs for nuclear power plants' submitted.
(The KKW study as a PDF file)

The estimated amount of damage to a Super disaster in Europe is, depending on the scenario, between 100 and 430 billion euros.
(Study on the extent of damage as a pdf file)

Most Akws in Europe are only with under 1 billion € insured. In the Netherlands and Belgium, the insured amount of damage is € 1,2 billion and in Germany € 2,5 billion per nuclear power plant; in the USA, at around $ 10 billion per nuclear power plant, it looks only marginally better.

No car should be moved even one meter on the road with such a lousy liability insurance.


4.) Extremely high risk potential, also for democracy

The information war, a war against the free flow of information, is in full swing. All nine nuclear-weapon states and many other repressive states stand firmly together and fight against freedom of the press to keep information under MIK's control.

Every nuclear power plant and every single Castor transport must be constantly guarded or escorted by security forces due to the high risk potential. Every nuclear facility is a further step on the way to becoming a police state.

Once an anti-aircraft gun is part of every nuclear power plant, it will no longer be necessary to discuss whether that is Use of the military in their own country is desirable or not.

Despots build and love nuclear power plants, because they need the uranium economy as a means of staying in power.

"We do everything to drive 'development and progress' forward ..."

Any repression against critics and those who think differently is justified with such pithy sayings.

The opposition is suppressed and lots of tax money is diverted.

For nuclear power and the uranium economy, first the rule of law and, in the end, democracy will be sacrificed!

The 'affinity to the atom' is striking among all right-wing parties.

- Who is actually financing the new 'rights'? Putin? Sure, it fits!

- And who else? A few harmless ones rich patrons from Switzerland!?


5.) There is no such thing as a 'peaceful or civil use' of atomic energy!

Energy-producing civil nuclear reactors provide the material the military needs to build atomic bombs.

Any civil research in the field of atomic energy is basically just as useful for the military (dual use) Also a covert increase in the military budget.

That was the purpose of the event from the beginning:

To have the immense costs of nuclear research, from uranium production and enrichment, to the conditioning and storage of nuclear waste - including the costs that arise from military use - borne by the civilian population.

Meanwhile, the population was told the fairy tale of unlimited and cheap energy. And so there is, up to the present day, for the Construction of nuclear reactors only one really decisive reason: the production of highly enriched material (HEU - highly enriched uranium) for military use.

MIC - The military-industrial complex

Already warned of the harmful influence of the military industry on civil society Ex-General and US President Eisenhower on January 17.01.1961th, XNUMX:

“We in the institutions of government have to protect ourselves from unauthorized influence - intentional or unintentional - by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the catastrophic increase in misdirected forces is there and will continue to exist. We must never allow the power of this combination to endanger our freedoms or our democratic processes. We shouldn't take anything for granted. Only vigilant and informed citizens can force the gigantic industrial and military defense machinery to be properly networked with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and freedom can grow and flourish together. "


Information booth in the VEW parking lot

At some point we were in front of the information booths
already more people than behind it.


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THTR facts

The idea, instead of fuel rods, Graphite balls developed to use dr Rudolph Schulten - so the legend goes - yes in the 1950ssystem. (It was Leo Szilard!)

In year 1967 then became the first prototype of one 'Pebble bed reactor'the AVR Julich with a nominal power of 15 Megawatts, put into operation.

The AVR supposedly worked fine until at AVR incident from May 13-22, 1978 approx. 25 tons of water seeped into the reactor ...?!

The construction works am THTR-300 began in Hamm / Uentrop 1970 and should actually 5 years be finished later, but it was 15 years.

Learn more about the provisional operating license 1985 was granted, were the building-costs of the planned 0,69 billion DM on around 4 billion DM gone up.


An end to this waste of taxpayers money is still not in sight:

The price for Maintenance operation and secure containment of the THTR amount to 5,1 million euros annually, the 50% each from the federal and state levels

Find more EUR 0,5 million Prepare for final storage annually share one third each bunch of, State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the HKG.

The funding the phase since Decommissioning decision Sept. 1989 until the end of 2004 includes in total EUR 391,8 million, which are divided as follows: The bunch of pays EUR 112,1 million, the country NRW pays EUR 131,0 million and the shareholders of HKG pays EUR 148,7 million.


These figures are from a letter from the Ministry of Finance in North Rhine-Westphalia on April 02.04.2005nd, XNUMX.

See in Newsletter no .: 99 from 2005, the article:

THTR nuclear waste is getting more and more expensive!

Will we be able to find out the actual costs at some point?

Due to the X different budget items at X different federal and state ministries, the actual amount of the sum is still not really manageable for me!


We now know that subsidies have flowed from over since the 1950s 200 billion euros into the German nuclear industry. (As of 2016)

The 'cleaning up behind them' gets taxpayers at least more 100 billion euros costs!


spherical fuel assembly

There were quite a few incidents that did not have to be reported at THTR, meldepflichtig were 21 incidents.

Damage to the graphite balls should actually be kept within limits, one calculated 1 until 2 broken bullets per year.

But then between 1985 and 1987 17.000 balls broken.

The resulting Ball fracture - radioactive graphite dust - had to be sucked off and temporarily stored every time, or it is still in the reactor in an unknown amount and makes the dismantling of the nuclear power plant even more difficult and unpredictably more expensive ...

More on this topic:

'The list of incidents - THTR breakdown series'


What 'Der Spiegel' wrote on the subject in 1986


Two reports on HTR technology by Lothar Hahn
from the years:

1986 - Study on the subject of HTR safety


1988 - Study on the subject of HTR and proliferation

as well as

2008 - the 'Moormann study'

A scientist from Jülich takes stock.

- -

2009 - Dismantling of the AVR in Jülich


The arguments The facts The accident The end!?

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"reportable incident - INES level 0"

Simple people like me would call it a "failure".

The accident, with which the operators of the THTR wrested the favor of the SPD ruling in NRW, happened on the night of 4th to 5th May 1986. The radioactive cloud emanating from the radiating reactor ruins in Chernobyl (catastrophe on April 26.04.1986th, XNUMX) lay over Europe.

Billboard designed by Fritz Brümmer - Chernobyl -

This billboard was

1986 by the draftsman

Fritz Brümmer designed.

The THTR in Hamm / Uentrop should actually be fed automatically - the automatic system should add exactly 60 new graphite fuel balls at the top and 60 'old' balls should be removed from below.


On the evening of May 4, 1986, one of the fuel element spheres had jammed in the pipe system of the loading system and was not moving backwards or forwards. The technician tried to pull the broken bullet out of the pipe using gas pressure to be conveyed into the reactor.

The purge gas that was used first to blow was therefore clean - not radioactively contaminated - Helium, fresh from the storage tank and it blew in the direction of the reactor.

The gas pressure of the purge gas alone, however, was apparently not strong enough and so the person at the control panel sent - versehentlich - little by little all the other 40 balls afterwards. The result of this action were 41 broken bullets and an open gas lock.

This gas lock was actually supposed to prevent the helium from escaping from the pipes of the charging system and was jammed, probably due to the remains of the broken balls.


Now the technician allegedly opened - versehentlich - a valve of the primary cooling circuit. With the pressure of - radioactively contaminated - Helium from the cooling circuit of the reactor, succeeded - 'Engineer chance' - but still to get the system free and the remains of the ball fracture - including a previously unknown amount of radiating graphite dust from the reactor combustion chamber - through the open gas lock, out of the reactor to blow.


The fact is: An unknown amount of the contaminated graphite dust got into - versehentlich - together with the helium into the ambient air.

Just at the time it was - versehentlich - also the only one available Measuring instrument switched offso that afterwards nobody could say how much radioactive material (radioactive graphite dust) - versehentlich - had really been blown out.


That was all bad enough, but the culmination of this story was the HKG's attempt at this incident - versehentlich - to be completely concealed.

Then, when this mess could no longer be denied, it only became - versehentlich - presented as routine cleaning work and later as an unforeseeable mishap and operator error.

Only a few weeks later did the HKG slowly come across that it was probably a reportable incident, including the release of not inconsiderable amounts of radiation, which - versehentlich - had not been reported.

Addendum 2016

30 years later, law enforcement had become impossible due to statute of limitations, one of the ex-engineers claimed in one Wikipedia discussion postThat the blowing out was done with full intent and on the instructions of the boss, in order to get rid of the disruptive graphite dust from the reactor into the Chernobyl cloud, among other things. The ex-boss, of course, sees it completely differently ...


The study on the subject: Basic safety problems with the high-temperature reactor and particular deficits with the THTR-300 by Lothar Hahn - June 1986 -

The 'reportable event' in 'INES and the List of Incidents' -

As well as the contribution 'Sparkling eyes'in SPIEGEL from June 09.06.1986th, XNUMX -


We don't know the truth ... but we would like to talk to people who know the truth.

Do you know what happened on May 04th and 05.05.1986th, XNUMX in the THTR?

Please log in: w.neubauer@thtr-a.de


Nobody believed the gentlemen in the gray suits, even one word.

Parents from Hamm / Werries demand: Don't steal the future from our children!

Parents from Werries demand: Do not steal the future from our children

In the summer of 1987 in front of the Paulus Church in Hamm



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The end!?

The incident described above on April 4-5 May 1986, as I said, was the beginning of the end of the THTR in Hamm / Uentrop. The North Rhine-Westphalian state government was afraid that the meltdown in one of the four nuclear power plant blocks in Chernobyl on April 26.04.1986th, XNUMX had shaken even the most staunch supporters of the 'peaceful use of nuclear energy' to the core.

Incidentally, of these four chimneys, the smallest one, on the far left on the reactor roof, was the really dangerous one.

the little chimney on the far left is the dangerous one

About 6 times as much money had flowed into the THTR and the construction phase had lasted 3 times as long as planned, the operating company had proven to be only partially honest, the population rubbed their eyes and threatened to wake up.

VEW premises surrounded by human chains

The VEW was surrounded and crumbled.

For weeks the HKG had denied and covered up the incident and the leaked radiation, only clear measurement results from external institutes and various other factors (a secret, internal letter reached the public) forced the operating company to give up its 'never existed' strategy. This rather strategic relationship to the truth in the boardroom of the HKG then probably promoted the swing - in the right direction - among the politically responsible, after the four billion DM that had already been irretrievably lost, not another X billion DM in taxpayers' money to throw.

From the summer of 1986, after Chernobyl, more and more people came ...

In the summer of 1986 more and more people came to the THTR demos

The "SPD reactor" THTR had to go. Alone the supposed 'per peto mobile' Kalkar, with 7 billion DM building costs the most expensive technology museum in this country, was already more of a problem than enough for the comrades in North Rhine-Westphalia and then also this unspeakable scandal in the tranquil Hamm.

Funeral ceremony with grave decorations on the wall of the THTR when the closure was finally clear

... In 1989 the THTR was shut down. The dismantling will cost several million euros.

1991 became of the most modern cooling tower in Europe, located directly on the A2 motorway Dortmund - Hanover, blown up.

1. It had simply become superfluous

2. It was probably too obvious and widely visible an indication of the hubris of the powerful and the waste of taxpayers' money


The sight of it, a monumental example of a failed large-scale technology, would probably have given some motorists undesirably critical thoughts while 'driving, driving, driving on the autobahn'! So now this pretty cooling tower is out of sight. It's a shame, actually, the cooling tower was the only safe thing about the whole nuclear power plant, because the cooling tower really only shone when the sun shone on the aluminum fur!

The game with the radiant balls is not over yet, for the failed construction of a THTR successor (PBMR) in South Africa, over $ 980 million South African tax money wasted ...


Then as now the motto is:
Just don't let it get you down.


They want to build again in Uentrop and Schmehausen
and there is already a high fence around the site of the nuclear power plant.

But if the VEW thinks that we will see it
without defending ourselves, no, it won't work that way.

At the hearing they were friendly and nice,
but with the truth, they played hide-and-seek.

They probably wanted to catch us for their nuclear power plant,
but we, we tell everyone, we noticed it.

Stand on our side, a place will be occupied.
Here we protect ourselves from the dirt not tomorrow, but now!

And the prosecutor comes and the police come
and come at dawn - we don't care.

We are in agreement and are getting more and more
and when we come to an agreement, we don't mind anymore!

So hear the pharmacist speaking loudly and clearly:
There is medicine for many things, but not for radiation damage.

Stand on our side, a place will be occupied.
Here we protect ourselves from the dirt not tomorrow, but now!



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