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The THTR Circulars from 2005


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THTR Circular No. 98, March 2005

Success in South Africa: The PBMR process has to be rolled out again!

The South African Supreme Court has made an important decision on the progress of the process to assess the environmental impact of the planned Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) in South Africa. The environmental organization Earthlife Africa had complained that the operators had not made all relevant facts available to the public and that a proper consultation process had not taken place. In its 40-page verdict, the court agreed with the environmentalists. The government accepted the verdict. This decision means that the procedure has to be restarted. According to observers, this will result in a delay of around a year. - A great success for the South African environmentalists!

China is massively entering the HTR business!

"Eat pizza first after the incident"

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"The engineers did the unthinkable: They switched off the safety systems of the small reactor, then they gave full throttle and pulled the control rods out of the combustion chamber at full power - and that on the outskirts of Beijing. In all other nuclear power plants in the world there would be a Chernobyl disaster But the Chinese were sure of their cause and had invited 60 experts from all over the world to the control room of their experimental reactor HTR-10 for the spectacular experiment. The guests in the control room applauded with relief when the disaster did not materialize. "

The Swiss news magazine "FACTS" reported on this macabre event on October 21.10.2004, 2004 with recognizable admiration and added something to it: "The Meiler is 'walk-away safe', say its inventors. In other words: After an accident, the service team could first eat pizza go and take your time to discuss what to do next. " This event was the international HTR conference in September 93 (see THTR-RB No. XNUMX).

In 2010, HTR is expected to deliver electricity

In the meantime, the decades-long efforts of the German HTR lobby have borne fruit. Spiegel-Online reported on February 8, 2: "A Chinese energy consortium has already selected a building site in Shandong Province, reports the Financial Times." A 2005 megawatt reactor is to be built there that will work on the pebble bed principle.
A person in charge of the Chinese energy company Huaneng said the power plant should start operating in five years. This would make China a pioneer in terms of nuclear technology. The country urgently needs new sources of energy to satisfy the energy thirst of the booming economy. "

The friends of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) are also on board: "South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki announced that he wants to cooperate with China on the further development of the technology." On February 11, 2, the very industry-friendly VDI-Nachrichten noted cautiously about this development: "However, critics see pebble-bed reactors as a target for terrorist attacks. In addition, the question of how to dispose of radioactive waste remains."

The Swiss magazine "FACTS" quoted above, on the other hand, lets Professor Günter Lohnert, who formerly worked for Siemens, rave completely uncritically about the small HTR, which is not undisputed by the readership. This professor had been involved in the development of the HTR for almost 30 years, tried to talk Indonesia into this reactor (see THTR-RB No. 89) and has held the chair at the Institute for Nuclear Energy Technology and Energy Systems (IKE) at the University of Stuttgart since 1997. Here, under Rotgrün, HTR research is being carried out with EU funds and is now being expanded into a "competence center for all relevant issues relating to nuclear energy". For the future, Lohnert relies on HTR modules and later cites the THTR in Hamm-Uentrop: "It was a crucial mistake to trim the reactor to size."

For 30 years lobbying work for Chinese HTRs

The decade-long continuity with which HTR lobbyists fostered contact with China is remarkable. Engineers from the Essen Association of Large Power Plants (VGB) traveled to China as early as 1976 and issued invitations to Germany. On January 19, 1, China's deputy energy minister, Chan Pin, visited the THTR in Hamm-Uentrop. In the period that followed, the Essen-based company Innotec Energietechnik KG had plans to market smaller HTRs to China. In the 1978s there were intensive contacts between the Jülich Nuclear Research Center and Tsinghua University in Beijing (see THTR RB No. 80). Siemens subsidiary Interatom and the Swedish-Swiss group (ABB) were planning HTR module systems in China at this time. The 88 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing did not affect relations. Between 1989 and 1990, German and Chinese scientists worked together at Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) on three studies / lectures on HTR in China. And in 1993 the FZJ proudly drew attention to the subject of their scientific cooperation with the Institute of Nuclear Engineering Technology (INET) at Tsinghua University in Beijing with the following words: "Safety analyzes for the Chinese reactor HTR-2002".

Thanks to "FACTS", some extremely interesting details of the Peking-Jülich connection are now coming to light: "The nuclear physicist Wang Dazhong, now President of the Beijing University of Tsinghua, had close ties with the FZJ in Aachen in the early 80s , HB) and was the first scientist to write his doctoral thesis on small self-securing pebble-bed reactors. Wang recognized the growing energy needs of his country and convinced the nomenclature in Beijing. (...) Tsinghua University received money, initially bought the German the disused machines for the manufacture of the combustion balls, then China acquired the plans drawn up in Germany for the small pebble bed reactor "!!!

The "forgotten" HTR Hanau scandal

The machines that have been shut down for the manufacture of the fuel element balls can only be plants from the Hobeg company in the Hanau plutonium factory. The sale must have taken place several years ago and there was no outcry in the media, like last year when the Hanau plutonium complex was exported to China! Second, even after the THTR has been shut down, money can still be made from the sale of its patents. In this way, there is still some room for maneuver for busy nuclear researchers in times of tight budgets and the restriction to "safety research".

In addition, there are still a few questions: Did the FZJ benefit? Or who else? Still under red-green after 1998? What a lousy game it is when the HTR line can be diligently researching safety, the resulting products are then sold to the nuclear industry abroad and then the nuclear lobby, supported by many media, accusingly emphasizes with the raised index finger: This is being reproachfully emphasized abroad advanced reactor line used as a matter of course!

It's unbelievable: A small group of HTR lobbyists in the Forschungszentrum Jülich (and often also in Karlsruhe) attracts loyal pupils for decades, sends them out all over the world, maintains contacts, sells patents for good money and just has to wait until the appropriate people have filled the right positions - and then what they are currently not allowed to do in Germany will be done: one HTR after the other will be built!

And no one from Rotgrün prevents them from playing this little game on. On February 2nd, NRW Environment Minister Bärbel Höhn was once again

in Jülich. She was only interested in research on fertilizers and plant protection agents. Nuclear power should be a taboo before the NRW state elections.

In 2000, an inter-ministerial committee (IMA) made up of representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Aid approved China's Hermes guarantees to promote the supply of German nuclear technology. "Die Zeit" was the headline on March 16, 2000: "Germany is encouraging China to get started with nuclear power" and concluded: "Everyone knows that the nuclear industry links its chances of survival with the entry into China." The calculation worked out and the red-green ministerial bureaucracy helps diligently and keeps shouting: It's just security research, security research, security research! 

Horst Blume

Pakistan supplied Tehran

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In THTR-RB No. 95 I described how the German-Dutch Urenco and Jülich pupil Khan obtained information and sources of supply for the construction of uranium centrifuges in the 70s and is now making the whole world unsafe. The neverending story takes its course:

"The Pakistani government has for the first time admitted the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran by the former head of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Abdul Qadeer Khan delivered a centrifuge system to Iran, said Information Minister Sheik Rashid Ahmed on Thursday in Islamabad. A questioning of Khan by foreign or international investigators concluded Ahmed again. Khan is considered the “father of the Islamic atomic bomb.” The Pakistani government has always denied having known about the illegal secret deals of Khan, who in January 2004 assumed responsibility for illegal shipments to Iran, Libya and North Korea but for his services he was pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf. " (New Germany, March 11, 3)

International HTR agreement

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"The United States, Canada, France, Great Britain and Japan signed an agreement in Washington on Monday to develop the latest nuclear technology. According to United States Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, the planned systems of the so-called fourth generation (including the HTR line French Ambassador Jean-David Lévitte said during the ceremony that the first new generation reactors are expected in 30 years and that the agreement is expected in the coming months signed by Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, South Korea and South Africa and the EU Atomic Energy Agency Euratom. " (From: Neues Deutschland, March 2, 3)

FZ Jülich is working on the HTR line

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In THTR-RB No. 92 of August 2004, a list of 20, in some cases very extensive, research work by Forschungszentrum Jülich was published, which was put on record under a red-green federal government between 1998 and 2004. In the meantime some new releases have been added and we only noticed an older one. So here is the supplement to the old list:


Ask: "HTGR safety analysis & tests in Germany". Proceedings of the IAEA Workshop on "Safety Demonstration and Market Potential for High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors", Beijing, China. Article in a book and CD-ROM

Kühn, Hinssen, Moormann: "Differences between the oxidation behavior af A3 fuel element matrix graphites in air and in steam and its relevance on accident progress in HTRs". Proceedings of the ICAPP 04, Pittsburg, USA

Moormann, Hinssen, Kühn: "Oxidation behavior of an HTR fuel element matrix graphite in oxygen compared to a standard nuclear graphite". In: Nuclear Engineering and Design, 277 (2004), pp. 281-284


Bisplinghoff, Lochny, Fachinger, Brüchner: "Radiochemical characterization of graphite from Jülich experimental reactor (AVR)." In: Nuclear Energy, 39 (2000), pp. 311-315

The THTR after 2009

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Answer of the Ministry of Transport, Energy and State Planning NRW to our questions about the safe containment / dismantling and the financing of the THTR after the year 2009 from 3.1.2005:

"These questions (1 to 4; HB) relate to the ongoing financing of the remaining THTR facility, which is to be arranged in a few years' time. Your letter has been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance for an answer.

So far, the nuclear licensing authority has not received an application for a license to significantly change the approved residual plant, and according to the agreement between the federal government and the energy supply companies of 14.6. In 2000, it is also not to be expected that such an application will be made in the foreseeable future.

According to Section 9a, Paragraph 3 of the Atomic Energy Act, the federal government has to set up facilities for the safekeeping and final storage of radioactive waste. According to multiple statements by the federal government, based on the agreement of the coalition parties supporting them on October 20, 10, the federal government plans to put a repository for all types of radioactive waste into operation by 19998. For the time being, there is no need for the state government to decide on the continuation of the approved safe enclosure or the further dismantling of the THTR facility, for which, as for other nuclear dismantling projects, an available repository would generally be an efficient measure.

It is not enough, as you assumed, to designate a repository; a repository for all types of radioactive waste must actually be available in Germany.

The federal government aims to have an operational repository available by around 2030. In their opinion, the operational readiness of a repository for heat-generating waste will not even be necessary until around 2030 from a technical, scientific and economic point of view. In the foreseeable future, as you assumed, it is hardly to be expected that a corresponding repository will be available in Germany before 2030. This means that the boundary conditions that led to the decision to establish safe containment of the THTR and the maintenance of containment monitoring operations have not changed. "Wilfried Hohmann, February 15, 2

An article on our questions was in the WA on February 4, 2

Incident in Ahauser nuclear storage facility:

Stalactite cave

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"Defective pressure switch triggers the monitoring system. Anti-nuclear initiatives complain about a lack of security: the warehouse resembles a" stalactite cave ", the nuclear waste castors continue to rust.

The faulty pressure switch of a Castor cask triggered the monitoring system of the Ahaus fuel element interim storage facility on Sunday. However, the nuclear container was completely leak-proof at all times, and radioactivity had not escaped, the operating company "Ahaus fuel element storage facility" announced on Tuesday. According to the limited liability company, the defective part has now been replaced in coordination with the supervisory authorities. "At no time was there any danger," says Lothar Wittenberg, spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalian energy minister, Axel Horstmann (SPD).

Now the Greens and anti-nuclear initiatives are calling for the incident to be fully investigated. "Those responsible for the interim storage facility must make it clear exactly where the error was," demands Rüdiger Sagel, spokesman for the green parliamentary group - after all, serious incidents have occurred several times in Ahaus. "We already had rusting castors."

Anti-nuclear activists also take care of that: the hall in which the castors are stored is "totally wet", like "a stalactite cave", complain Matthias Eickhoff from the Münster-based initiative Resistance to nuclear facilities and Felix Ruwe from the anti-nuclear Citizens' Initiative (BI) Ahaus in agreement. In order to ensure the cooling of large Castor containers with fuel rods, for example from the Grundremmingen and Neckarwestheim nuclear power plants, the hall should be air-cooled. "And now it's raining in through the big holes."

For the large nuclear waste containers, which had an outside temperature of around 100 degrees when they were delivered, the humidity is not a problem, according to the anti-nuclear activists. Currently, 305 smaller castors with highly radioactive fuel elements from the decommissioned thorium high-temperature reactor (THTR) in Hamm are also stored in Ahaus - and they are rusting away. Burkhard Helling, Chairman of the BI Ahaus, speaks of "allegedly plate-sized holes". The upper lids of the containers should have been unscrewed, sandblasted and painted by the Ahauser painter Heuten. Even interim storage spokesman Jürgen Auer confirms the core of the problems, but only wants to speak of "rust film". Nevertheless, all 305 THTR containers are currently being given a new "corrosion paint".

That is not enough for the anti-nuclear initiatives. They doubt the tightness of the radiating nuclear waste containers: "After sandblasting and painting, there is no longer any question of the alleged precision seal." (From: TAZ-Ruhr from March 10.3.2005, XNUMX)

Make a note of:

A BEZ demonstration will take place on Sunday, April 17, 2005 from 14 p.m. from the town hall in Ahaus. The farmers want to take part with many tractors in the protest against the Castor transport from Rossendorf to Ahaus. This transport is to take place immediately after the NRW state elections. A lot of pressure should be made in advance to prevent these transports! Info: and

Gronau Greens let membership in the party rest!

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The Gronau Greens want to pull the rip cord: In a letter they let the federal and state executive as well as the federal and state parliamentary factions of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen know that they will suspend their membership in the party until further notice.

The background to this is the approval granted by the red-green state government to expand the uranium enrichment plant from the current 1800 to 4500 tons of uranium separation work per year. The Greens were shocked to learn of the approval from the newspaper, writes Rüdiger Bartels to the party leadership. And: It is therefore clear that the Gronau location is massively promoting the expansion of the nuclear industry in Germany and around the world. Bartels and the dozen or so comrades-in-arms in the local Gronau association consider the approval to be an affront. At this point in particular, we expected the red-green state or federal government to take all possible steps to politically prevent the expansion of the uranium enrichment plant.

Instead, however, the expansion permit was granted without any apparent resistance - an approach that the Greens on site perceive as a slap in the face (Bartels) and which they did not consider possible. This was especially against the background that the local association was founded in 1982 with the aim of preventing the uranium enrichment plant.
Bartels continues in the letter: We would have expected that the Greens at state and federal level would make it clear to the coalition partner that the approval for the massive expansion of the uranium enrichment plant means war and the end of cooperation. As a result of the approval that has now been granted, it is also not clear how the goal of leaving the nuclear industry in Germany and worldwide can still be achieved.

The Gronau Greens are now expecting plausible answers - for example to the questions of how the Greens feel about the exit from the nuclear industry and how the Gronau plant should be dealt with in the future. Bartels: Only with such answers is it possible for us to continue to represent green politics in Gronauer.
The local alternatives want to give their party leadership time for answers by March 31st. Bartels: If there is no response by then or if the answers are unsatisfactory, we will terminate our membership. (From: Westfälische Nachrichten of February 18, 2)

SPD: Cynicism in UAA expansion

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The Münsterland anti-nuclear power initiatives react with great outrage to statements from the ranks of the SPD parliamentary group in Düsseldorf in connection with the expansion of the uranium enrichment plant (UAA) in Gronau, which was approved in February.

Werner Bischoff, economic policy spokesman for the parliamentary group, had stated in a newspaper interview for the SPD, among other things, that the "expansion in Gronau will not shake the exit at all". He also said that the NRW-SPD was solely concerned with creating up to 150 jobs.
We consider these statements to be stupid and cynical in two ways. On the one hand, it is an obvious contradiction to decide to phase out nuclear power in Berlin and then to expand a nuclear facility in Gronau, which is solely used to supply nuclear power plants worldwide with nuclear fuel. Anyone who wants to phase out nuclear power must not invest in the future of nuclear energy.

Because the expansion of the UAA is intended to cover, among other things, the need for new nuclear power plants in the future. Anyone who officially announces their exit at home, but wants to do good business with nuclear energy abroad, is simply acting mendaciously. On the other hand, the technology of uranium enrichment is of outstanding military importance. The atomic bomb has already been built in Pakistan with the technology of the UAA operating company Urenco. Iran is accused of wanting to use this technology to build its own atomic bomb. That is why the International Atomic Energy Agency is working with the UN and on behalf of the USA to implement a worldwide moratorium on uranium enrichment.
The SPD's statement that it is all about jobs in Gronau is cynical in this context. Obviously, the SPD doesn't care what is produced in the UAA Gronau and who is supplied with the nuclear fuel. While the failed industrial policy of the NRW-SPD has lost thousands and thousands of jobs in NRW over the past few decades, the 150 new ones are to be added
Jobs in Gronau the NRW unemployment statistics of over 1 million unemployed beautiful. This is an absolute low point even for the SPD when it comes to justifying its nuclear-friendly policy.

In view of such a nuclear policy, we are not surprised that the SPD is clearly falling behind in the election polls. The people in Münsterland have to recognize that an SPD-led state government is cementing the future of the nuclear facilities in Gronau and Ahaus. The SPD is also planning to bring new Castor transports from Dresden to Ahaus at the end of May. Nobody should vote for a party that has such brazen policies against its own people.
We therefore call for intense protests against the nuclear plans of the red-green state government in Gronau and Ahaus in the coming weeks and months in order to promote the nuclear phase-out in the Münsterland. (March 6, 3) 


BI "No nuclear waste in Ahaus", resistance against atomic plants (WIGA) Münster, action alliance Münsterland against atomic plants, people against atomic plants (MEGA) Waltrop

Dear Readers!

It is the NRW state election campaign. I like to give my lecture "HTR export from North Rhine-Westphalia all over the world" not only in Münster and Hamm, but also in other places. 

Horst Blume


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