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The THTR Circulars from 2004


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THTR Circular No. 92 August 2004

Leaking THTR barrels in Ahaus?

After corrosion damage occurred in the 1999 THTR casks in the fuel element interim storage facility (BEZ) in Ahaus in 305, there are now obviously new problems. We quote the "Münsterländer Zeitung" from July 17.07.2004th, XNUMX, the "Westfälische Anzeiger" did not report.

"The cask monitoring system in the Ahaus fuel element interim storage facility signaled the malfunction of a pressure switch on one of the 17.35 Castor THTR casks on Thursday at around 305:XNUMX pm. This was announced yesterday by BZA spokesman Michael Ziegler. He emphasized:" The tightness of the double lid system on the cask is not affected by this. The container is still completely leakproof. We immediately informed our supervisory authority, the MVEL (Ministry of Transport, Energy and State Planning). "The castors are closed with two lids, whereby the tightness of the container should already be guaranteed by a lid. A pressure switch built into the second lid is used Monitoring of this tightness. Its functionality itself is checked by a self-monitoring system, which has now triggered a signal.

Ahaus: Brutal police attack!

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The BI activist, originally from Hamm, WIGA press spokesman and constant reporter in the "grassroots revolution", Matthias Eickhoff, was arrested by the police on the last Sunday walk in Ahaus and brutally attacked when he was holding a spontaneous demonstration against the planned ones on a motorway bridge Wanted to register Castor transports from Rossendorf to Ahaus.

The Ahauser police are tough when dealing with opponents of nuclear power: Two demonstrators were arrested late on Sunday afternoon for no reason, according to anti-nuclear initiatives from the Münsterland. "I wanted to register a demonstration with the officials on site," says Matthias Eickhoff, spokesman for the group Resistance Against Nuclear Plants (WIGA) from Münster. "then I was thrown on the ground by three policemen." An officer at the station had also advised him to jump out of the window - preferably from the second floor, as there was a greater likelihood of a broken neck. "If that was a joke, it was pretty unsuccessful," says not only Eickhoff: "Obviously, this is supposed to prevent protests."

The approach seems to have a method: The Ahaus police even decided internally not to accept any registrations for so-called spontaneous demonstrations - a "scandal", the initiatives find: "The Ahaus police cannot choose from whom they accept demonstrations." The State Ministry of the Interior is now required. "

In a press release by the citizens' initiative it says:

"After the heaviest police attacks since 1998, the citizens' groups are now demanding an apology from the police for disregarding the right to demonstrate and the brutal actions of individual police officers. Such incidents have not occurred since the last Castor transport in Ahaus in 1998. We are very concerned, too how hard the police react to completely peaceful demonstrations and simply try to override constitutionally protected rights. The Ahaus police seem to be overwhelmed with the demonstrations against the planned Castor transports from Dresden to Ahaus. We ask the police to do it again to return to a cooperative stance and apologize for their behavior on July 18. We also call for an immediate cessation of the criminal proceedings that have been initiated.

Also in the future we will not accept that even motorway bridges should be declared a generally demonstration-free zone. We would like to point out that demonstrations were approved without any problems as part of the Autobahn Action Day on February 29, both on freeway bridges and on the autobahn itself. The current change of heart is completely arbitrary. We are preparing both political and legal steps to secure the unrestricted right to demonstrate in Ahaus. We expect the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia to provide a clear statement on these incidents. We also expect a clear statement that the state government is not preparing any Castor transports to Ahaus for the period from the end of September to mid-October. We will be on September organize a long Sunday walk to protest against possible nuclear shipments. If necessary, we will also demonstrate on September 26th (local election Sunday) in Ahaus to usher in the hot phase against the Dresden Castors. The plans for a hot autumn are already in full swing for the anti-nuclear power initiatives. "

Core competence remains in Jülich!

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The extensive scientific work on HTR research from 1998 onwards under the red-green coalition is guaranteed not to be on the current top ten list of the popular science book series by Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ).

Rather, they have to be laboriously picked out of the confusing publication lists, which comprise thousands of titles. At first glance, you sometimes don't see at first glance that these works and anthologies, some of which are in English, have anything to do with HTR research, because you can't see what is really hidden behind certain titles. Therefore, the list below is definitely incomplete, because only in a few cases content information is given. But where they can be found, they give interesting insights.

A few weeks ago, a 160-page study on the HTTR in Japan completed. In 2002 and 1999, the FZJ documented its own work on the further development of the PBMR in South Africa.

From the contents of the publications it can be seen that research on the HTR line is still being carried out with various specialized test facilities built since the beginning of the 90s. And something else becomes clear. The authors never tire of speaking of "great potentials" and a "highly developed reactor system" like a mantra in every work, "in which safety against accidents is guaranteed solely by physical principles" (Zucker, 2003).

Kuhlmann also praised his research topic in 2003 and claims: "A 'disaster-free nuclear technology', in which even the most serious accidents are restricted to the interior of the plant and thus have no significant effects on the power plant's surroundings, can be achieved with high-temperature reactors."

Research is being carried out or has been carried out on the HTR line at the FZJ at the following test facilities:

NACOK (use in the core with corrosion)

In the test facility, experiments on gas transport and graphite corrosion in the HTR have been carried out for at least eight years. The FZJ writes: "NACOK should provide data on the chemical stability of a pebble-bed high-temperature reactor. Chemical stability means that the automatic maintenance of the fuel element stability is guaranteed when corrosive media break into the primary circuit". After the scientist Kuhlmann published a 2003-page work on this in 148, the FZJ still has big plans: "The NACOK test facility is to be used for further experiments with international cooperation in the future."

SEAT (automatic separation of water droplets)

This wind tunnel system, which consists of a flow circuit, was also designed and built at least eight years ago in the Institute for Safety Research and Reactor Technology (ISK) of the FZJ and put into operation with selected measurement technology. A laser-optical particle analyzer was purchased. Esser writes that in the case of completely "hypothetical accident scenarios, the penetration of liquid water into the primary circuit cannot be ruled out". The aim of the tests carried out at least until 2003 was to prove that, due to automatic mechanisms, the water mass can be limited to "subcritical quantities in terms of reactivity."

SANA (automatic removal of residual heat in an HTR module reactor)

The test facility consists of a cylindrical section of the pebble bed of an HTR reactor core and has a diameter of 1,5 m and a height of 1 m, with a volume of 1,77 m3 there are 9.500 graphite balls with a diameter of 6 cm. The aim of the more than 100 stationary and interstationary experiments was to analyze the heat transport phenomena within a loose pebble bed. The calculations were carried out, among other things, with the TINTE program system. This was already used in the Jülich AVR system in the 80s. It is unclear whether tests were carried out in this area from 2000 onwards.

Furthermore, in the list of FZJ materials 1998 and 1999, the work of Khorochev and Neuhaus / Philippen, which deals with the use of Weapons plutonium deal with high temperature reactors.

Also in 2003 has a long list of Patent applications of the FZJ a certain number on the HTR research. Most clearly in the patent by M. Piontek "Removal device for fuel element balls and method for removing fuel element balls from nuclear reactors" from March 7, 3.

In the safety report of the FZJ, the result for the year 2003 for the area of ​​"safety research for nuclear reactors" is recorded: "To secure the Maintaining competence for effective third-party funding Through contracts and license agreements with international partners in the field of safety research for nuclear facilities, the theoretical models and computer programs VSOP-99 and TINTE have been adapted to newer international standards and subjected to extensive validation tests. Another license could be awarded for VSO-99. "

The computational simulation of the PBMR for South Africa was also carried out with the VSOP program cycle, as can be seen from the extensive work by EJ Mulder from 1999.

Probably incomplete list of FZJ research work on the HTR line:

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Author, Nishihara: "Valuation of the Safety Concept of the Combined Nuclear / Chemical Complex for Hydrogen Production with HTTR". 160 pages, to be published shortly.


Kuhlmann: "Experiments on gas transport and graphite corrosion in air ingress accidents in high-temperature reactors". 148 pages.

Leber: "Transport and separation of droplets in the primary circuit of the high-temperature reactor in the event of accidents involving water ingress". 161 pages.

Sugar: "Neutron physical properties of a heavy water-cooled pebble bed reactor with a non-melting core". 120 pages.

Raepsaet, Ohlig, Haas, Wallerbos: "Analysis of the European results on the HTTR's core physics benchmarks". In: Nuclear engineering and design 222. pp. 173-187


Schröder: "Operatingrecuperator data for PBMR: work package; recuperator HTR-E (components and systems) European Commission. Article in a book.

Fröhling, Unger, Dong: "Comparison of plant efficiencies of various power conversion systems for HTR modules ENS, HTR-TN"


Hittner, von Lensa: "Assessment of safety and innovative technology for HTR generating plant (INNOHTR) EU co-sponsored research on evolutionary reactor safety concepts. Article in a book, 28 pages.


Niephaus: "Reference concept for the direct final storage of spent HTR fuel elements in CASTOR THTR / AVR transport and storage casks. 91 pages.

Rütten, Haas: "Research on the incineration of plutonium in a modular HTR using thorium-based fuel. In: Nuclear engineering and design 195.


Schaaf: "Experiments on heat and mass transfer as a result of natural convection in an air ingress accident at the high-temperature reactor". 144 pages.

Neuhaus, Philippen: "Comparison of uranium- and thorium-based plutonium recycling in a pressurized water reactor". 57 pages.

Mulder: "Pebble bed reactor with equalized core powe distribution - inherently safe and simple. 150 pages.

Moormann, Hinssen, Latge: "Oxidation of carbon based materials for innovative energy systems (HTR, fusion reactor): status and further needs". Article in a book. 11 pages.

Moormann, Schenk, Ver bitten: "Source term estimation for small sized HTRs; a German approach Proceedings of the 1st Meeting Survey on Basic Studies in the Field of High Temperature Engineering (including Safety Studies) ". Article in a book. 9 pages.


Stöcker: "Investigations into the automatic removal of residual heat in high-temperature reactors with special consideration of natural convection". 134 pages.

Esser: "Experimental investigations into the transport and separation of droplets in the gas flow of high-temperature reactors in the event of accidents involving water ingress". 159 pages.

Rainer, Fachinger: "Studies on the Long-Term Behavior of HTR-Fuel Elements in Higly Concentrated Repository - Relevant Brines". In: Radiochimica Acta 80.

Khorochev: "Use of plutonium in the pebble-bed high-temperature reactor". 107 pages.

Kugeler, Alkan, Briem: "Generation of electrical energy in nuclear power plants with high efficiency". 85 pages.

NRW state government is happy about HTR nuclear export

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"Valuable contribution"

Here you can read our statement on the response of the Ministry of Science and Research of North Rhine-Westphalia of July 12, 2004 to our questions about the funding of the HTR line. 

Even 15 years after the Thorium High Temperature Reactor (THTR) was shut down in Hamm, the NRW Research Ministry is not in a position to clearly declare this reactor line to have failed. The ministry has also not commented on previous experience with this bankruptcy reactor. And certainly not about the future prospects of the HTR line, although in view of the newly flared up discussion about the HTR (including in Spiegel and Stern, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit) a clarification would be long overdue.

In its letter of July 12, 2004 to the citizens' initiative for environmental protection Hamm e. V. continues research on HTR technology as a "valuable contribution to the international safety of HTR reactors".

In her justification, she obviously reversed the cause and effect of HTR research in Germany: Precisely because here for decades - even under red-green governments! - the research was promoted and financed in a targeted manner, companies and institutes can use the results obtained here all over the world and have only been able to build new nuclear power plants through this German research!

The state government's assertion that Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) only carried out safety analyzes for this reactor technology belongs in the realm of legends. The nuclear industry itself boasts that for the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) in South Africa, "the fundamental development work was done at Forschungszentrum Jülich" (in: atw, in the report on the event "International cooperation from the IAEA's point of view" from 24. 10. 2000 in Bonn). This fundamental development work can be read in the 20 publications of the FZJ, some of which are very extensive.

Since the state and federal government expressly endorses HTR research, it is not surprising that it is also committed to its financial support at EU level and thus also provides helper services to nuclear companies internationally. The internationally operating HTR-Technology Network (HTR-TN) is really lucky to have received so much support from a federal and state government that allegedly wants to get out of nuclear power.

Lothar Hahn, a former scientist at the Öko-Institut and former chairman of the German Reactor Safety Commission, not only subjected the HTR concepts to a fundamental criticism in his reports in 1986, but also in this case in 1988 and 1990, which is still valid today. If, according to the state government, he was to have supported the FZJ's nuclear endeavors in "more recent times" as a member of a scientific commission through his vote, this would be regrettable, since we value him very much as a critical scientist. We will ask him in due course to give us some explanations about the details of the circumstances and the actual statements made by this commission. (...)

To the answer of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

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dated 20.07.2004/03.03.2004/XNUMX to our questions dated XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX about HTR funding:

The Federal Ministry of Research needed almost 5 months to answer our questions (wording on our homepage) Years ago, Rotgrün really can't help it. And in two years there will be another CDU government in office and even then, unfortunately, unfortunately, there will not be much more to do with how quickly time goes by.

Working towards giving up research on the controversial HTR line within eight years - red-green is somehow overwhelmed. Because the funding decision is made "on the basis of an international evaluation" by the federal and state governments, and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) is only 100% owned by the federal government and North Rhine-Westphalia. Of course, you don't have too much leeway to get something done. But at least the Federal Research Ministry announces the good news that the FZJ is not pursuing an "intensification of this research line at EU level". We are reassured, though, since this research center has published over 1998 extensive research papers on the HTR line under Rotgrün since 20 - much more is not possible in the future anyway. The research on the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) for South Africa was "commissioned work on a purely commercial basis", nothing can be done about it. For reasons of competition, the Ministry of Research is not allowed to publish any further details and, as a precaution, does not even go into any of our other questions about HTR funding. Thank God, Brussels is now responsible for that.

Rotgrün 2004: You thought you were in power, but you are only in government. And don't want it any other way.

New (old) government in South Africa on nuclear course!

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After the planned civil society dialogue was terminated in the form of a large conference on atomic energy in January 2004 (see also circular no. 89), the advocates of nuclear energy increasingly prevailed in South Africa. As expected, the African National Congress (ANC) received a majority in the general election on April 14, 2004. With 69,68% of the vote and 279 MPs, it was a huge victory, so that no one can avoid the party of the former liberation movement.

The New National Party (NNP), the party of the former apartheid regime, has recognized this. After receiving 1994% ​​in the first free elections in 20, it has now dropped to 1,65% and has only 7 members. Two months ago, under its chairman Marthinus van Schalkwyk, this party decided to dissolve it and integrate it into the ANC in order to get a little more off the distribution of benefices and spheres of influence. Until the elections, Schalkwyk was Prime Minister of the Cape Province in which the Koeberg nuclear power plant is located and where the planned Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) is to be built. The ANC of this province of Western Cape could not speak out clearly against the PBMR because of certain consideration for the conservative coalition partner - at least that's what it was said. And now Schalkwyk is being rewarded for joining the ANC and is - we guessed it - Minister for Environment and Tourism in the new federal government!

His colleague, the Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, campaigned vehemently for the construction of the PBMR on June 22, 2004: "'We must not renounce any source of energy, otherwise we can pack up with our industrialization," she said and criticized the industrialized countries for theirs State want to prescribe energy solutions. The latter accuses the latter of preventing the use of high technology on the continent out of self-interest in order to be able to continue to exploit the resources of Africa "(Neues Deutschland, June 30, 6). Only 2004 percent of energy in South Africa is generated from the sun and wind. By 1,5 it should only be 2013%. In contrast to nuclear power, independent research into alternative energy is only now starting.

Since in the article of the ND the South African journalist one secrets Suspected knowledge transfer from Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) to South Africa in matters of HTR and military use, the "Green League Brandenburg" justifiably called this on the scene with a corrective letter to the editor, which revealed additional interesting aspects of the problem: "Nobody can predict how the development will be In South Africa, the ANC should disappoint the hopes of the black masses for a decent life. Developments in neighboring Zimbabwe show that such failures can lead to irrational policies. An atom bomb in the hands of politicians like Mugabe would be a threat to world peace. But the 'peaceful' reactor in Koeberg is also a danger. Militant Islamists have already become active in South Africa "(ND, July 5, 7).

So far, so right. The letter to the editor that Environment Minister Trittin is said to have rejected the HTR line in internal discussions on the sidelines of a green congress and that even the CDU would no longer believe in it, however, moved me to an answer in which I pointed out the responsibility of two different red and green ones Governments and the support of this line by the future ruling party CDU / CSU pointed out (ND, July 9, 7). All in all, a pleasantly diverse debate in a well-known newspaper. It's just a shame that the committed environmentalists in South Africa will get precious little of it ...

In Great Britain, too, the government is thinking out loud about the renaissance of nuclear power and about stepping up independent nuclear research. The "Handelsblatt" of July 28, 7 emphasized Blair's fear of having to buy nuclear reactors "from young industries such as India or South Africa" ​​in the future.

Media, press review:

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As on 20. May Foreign Minister Fischer stopped in Münster on a European election campaign tour to speak in front of 500 listeners, Thomas Rabe - a founding member of our BI in 1975 and a Münster eco-activist in the BUND and the Greens for over 20 years - and I distributed three hundred Extra sheets of the THTR newsletter, which made Fischer's participation in the HTR export to South Africa an issue. Before and during the event, we succeeded in handing a large number of those present an extra sheet and politely addressing our concerns. Since Thomas knew every third person, there were many understanding conversations, which was not a matter of course on that day, as everyone can imagine.

Am 9 June 2004 was also the "Star" afflicted by the renaissance, that treacherous mental fog that predominantly afflicts journalists who, without in-depth knowledge of the subject, are supposed to write a sensational article about the return of nuclear power. The now common nonsense about the inherent safety of small HTRs was burned up in the cover story. After all, I took into account that the two most important of a total of five sentences were sent as letters to the editor on 23. June im "Stern" published: "You can already see how safe the HTRs are at the HTR in Hamm-Uentrop. During its three-year term in the 80s, it was able to supply power for just 423 days because almost every week new incidents and notifiable events interrupted its operation . "

Am 22 July has also "The time" chewed on what the nuclear industry told it to do and also praised the HTR line in its cover story "Nuclear power is returning". The background to the DZ article will be analyzed in more detail in the next issue of the circular (and a little earlier on our homepage).


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