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THTR Circular No. 151, December 2018:
Kugel-Rudi "not quite legally" on the wrong track!
On August 16, 2018, the WDR broadcast a very special "time signal" on the radio about the "father of German nuclear technology" and alleged inventor of the pebble bed reactor Rudolf Schulten (1923-1996), also called "Kugel-Rudi" in his institute (1) . The fourteen-minute broadcast was authored by Martin Herzog, who reported in the 2009 WDR film “Atomstrom für Afrika” about the efforts to build the THTR in South Africa (2). The reason for the current radio broadcast was the not quite round 95th birthday of Rudolf Schulten, who worked for over 30 years on the research and development of the thorium high-temperature reactor in what was then known as the Jülich nuclear research center.
Herzog lets former companions and archivists from Jülich have their say. They talk about the euphoric mood of optimism in science and politics, in which the development of an independent, national reactor line was celebrated during the 50s and 60s. Finally, after losing the Second World War, Germany was to play an important role again on the world political stage. - But what was hiding behind the inflated rhetorical bombast (“technology for the benefit of mankind”) that the new reactor messiah Schulten spread? Rainer Moormann, who had worked at Forschungszentrum Jülich for decades and later became a whistleblower, also had his say and viewed Schulten's work critically: "If you resisted your ideas, you got into great difficulties". He represented the problems with the HTR line.
It is well known that the development and construction of the experimental reactor in Jülich and the THTR 300 in Hamm-Uentrop turned out to be extremely difficult. Numerous unsolved technical problems bothered the scientists. There were constant delays, unforeseen incidents and it became expensive. None of that challenged Schulten. He still had a big mouth, which could be clearly heard in the original sequences in this "time signal".
When the major incident in the THTR Hamm-Uentrop happened in 1986, it became clear how dangerous this special form of nuclear technology is. In an interview weeks later, THTR power plant director Glahe had to admit contrite but honestly serious problems: “Such an incident was not thought through in the planning. You can't always think as stupidly as it sometimes happens. ”Demonstrating and blocking farmers and consumers gave the bankruptcy reactor the rest.
In this "time signal", however, another aspect is briefly addressed, which I would like to go into a little deeper here. In the 50s, after the shocking experiences of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the population was attuned to Germany's new nuclear ambitions through a lot of propaganda: “Our friend, the atom. Not death physics, but life physics. The gifts of science will be bestowed on all humanity. The magical power of the atom. Nuclear fission as a gift from God ... “- these are all quotes from the radio report.
Schulten as a lawbreaker
The world had made its experiences with German fascism and it was clear that meanness and the determined will to annihilate in the FRG would not suddenly have disappeared from May 8, 1945. The perpetrators and their ideology continued to work and pose a great threat. Such people are not given weapons of mass destruction. It was not until the Paris Treaties of May 5, 1955 that the allies granted the FRG the right to conduct research in the field of nuclear power.
In 1952 Schulten became assistant to the Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg, who was involved in a leading position in the uranium project of the Heereswaffenamt under the fascists from 1942 to 1945. “Not entirely legal,” said Martin Herzog on the radio broadcast, Schulten had been in the USA and Great Britain before 1955 to study various new reactor concepts.
That is very politely and cautiously worded. Even in Wikipedia it is a little clearer: "He belonged to the study group for reactor physics, which was actually not allowed by Wirtz in 1953 (...), but which was in fact already a planning group for reactor design" (3). And elsewhere it says: “That is why Schulten stayed several times in the USA, above all at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and in Great Britain to study current nuclear reactor developments. This already happened in 1954, forbidden before the Germany Treaty of the Paris Treaties of May 5, 1955, through which the Federal Republic of Germany was allowed to research and develop the civil use of nuclear energy ”(4).
The HTR is not a German development!
For decades, Schulten and many politicians repeatedly emphasized that the pebble bed reactor was a purely German development. This is wrong. Ulrich Kirchner explained the development steps towards the HTR in his very knowledgeable and detailed book "The High Temperature Reactor" (1991):
“The possibility of using spheres as fuel elements was brought into play by Leo Szilard in Great Britain at the end of the 5s. Ten years later, Stefan Bauer (Harwall) started thinking about how to achieve high temperatures and thought of using balls in a globular cluster ”(XNUMX). Incidentally, Szilárd is best known for his involvement in the construction of the first US atomic bombs as part of the Manhattan Project. They were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Kirchner continues in his book: “But Farrigton Daniels (Oak Ridge) anticipated the idea of the HTR as early as 1942 in the USA. (...) In a brochure published in 1977, the Versuchsreaktor (AVR) working group and the high-temperature reactor construction (HRB) spoke of the 'Daniels concept' and reduced Rudolf Schulten's work to having given the decisive impetus (...) " (6). Daniels was head of the metallurgical department of the Manhattan Project and thus also involved in the construction of the US atomic bomb. He gave the pebble bed reactor the English name Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (7), which is still in use today.
It was precisely in the above-mentioned Oak Ridge Laboratory that Rudolf Schulten was illegally involved in the development of the pebble bed reactor before 1955. - And by the way: A good seventy years later, Oak Ridge received the order in 2016 to continue working on the HTR development as part of the Generation IV projects (see the article below).
At several points in his book Kirchner emphasizes that the HTR development was based on a specific German nationalism. For this reason, even offers of European cooperation were rejected: "The offer of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to join their team and work on the common European HTR concept was rejected by Rudolf Schulten and his colleagues in 1958 because they felt committed to the national concept, especially since the Federal Minister responsible at the time preferred his own programs to international ones ”(8).
In the 50s and 60s the hymns of praise for the pebble bed reactor in the FRG swelled more and more and led to grotesque self-overestimation. They revealed well-known patterns of thought that manifested themselves in extremely militarily violent language: “The Allgemeine Zeitung came up on October 19, 1959 with the headline 'Germany has won the first' nuclear battle '' and claimed that 'the big one and us in the Atomic research far ahead America is beaten by a nose ', since the construction of the first West German HTR has begun. The start of construction work was delayed until August 1961 ”(9).
The nationalistic arrogance with which German politicians appeared abroad as early as 1960 is illustrated by the following incident: “And Siegfried Balke (CSU), Federal Minister for Nuclear Energy and Water Management, responded on his trip to Canada to a journalist's question whether he would not buy a Canadian reactor want, with the counter-question 'Don't you want to buy a German reactor?' - and he undoubtedly meant the HTR '(10).
The AVR project in Jülich was started although important components such as the fuel element balls had not yet been developed to readiness for use (11). "The decisive development then took place in Oak Ridge (USA): around the turn of the year 1962/63 the possible manufacture of a fuel element became apparent here (...)" (12).
The first HTR balls for the AVR Jülich came from the USA (13)! The West German nuclear industry was unable to produce them. But knocking nationalist slogans, they could do that.
Back to the radio report. At the end of the 80s, the AVR Jülich and the THTR 300 in Hamm had long since passed their zenith after various incidents and were shut down. After this failure it became difficult to turn on someone else's pebble bed reactor. In this situation, the HTR lobby was not aware of any moral scruples about providing the internationally outlawed apartheid regime in South Africa with HTR technology for military use.
Robert Jung wrote about this: "The 'International Offices' established in Karlsruhe and Jülich in 1969 played a major role in ensuring that the Pretoria government, which was boycotted around the world because of its racial policy, received Becker's separation gland method for uranium enrichment developed in Karlsruhe" ( 14).
The radio report says: “At the end of the 80s, South Africa showed its interest as a drive for nuclear submarines. How much Schulten had to do with it after his retirement is still unclear. The Africa deal is stopped by his former employees ”. In his broadcast, Herzog speaks of 2.500 employees in FZ Jülich; most of them would have worked directly or indirectly for the Schulten reactor. A total of 300 doctoral students worked for Schulten. They all had an interest in somehow going on with this nuclear technology.
After the fall of the apartheid regime in 1994, the six atomic bombs in South Africa were mothballed and the Jülich lobby concentrated on making German HTR technology palatable for civil purposes to the new government. After South Africa poured $ 1,5 billion into the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR), the country had to give up (15).
To cause so many bankruptcies and still be on top of the media, that was Rudolf Schulten's specialty. He also influenced the nuclear trade press for decades, which is still noticeable today in their deep and uncritical attachment to the pebble topic. Because: "From 1958 to 1995 Schulten was initially co-editor and then a member of the editorial board of the trade journal" atw - atomwirtschaft - atomtechnik "(today" atw - International Journal for Nuclear Power "), the official technical and information sheet of the Kerntechnischen Gesellschaft eV" ( 16).
4) See 3
5) Ulrich Kirchner “The high temperature reactor. Conflicts, Interests, Decisions ”, Campus Research (1991), page 34
6) See 5, page 34
8) See 5, page 36
9) See 5, page 37
10) See 5, page 38
11) See 5, page 58
12) See 5, page 57
13) See 5, page 35
14) Robert Jungk “The Atomic State”, Kindler (1977), p. 129
16) see 3
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - historical continuities
This technical and scientific laboratory was founded in the USA in 1943 in order, among other things, to develop the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of the Manhattan Project. Rudolf Schulten illegally studied the pebble bed reactor developed there even before the Paris Treaties in 1955, took the know-how with him to West Germany and claimed that he was the father of this type of reactor (see the above article about Schulten).
In Oak Ridge, work was also carried out on the development of the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), which Schulten rejected at the time and which also belongs to Generation IV and works with thorium. This small MSR only ran for five years in the 70s because problems arose because salt corrodes the metal:
“In the test facility in Oak Ridge, fine cracks were found in the surfaces wherever metal and molten salt came into contact. These breaks could have become a problem with a longer period of operation ”(1).
Recently, Oak Ridge has been working on the spherical fuel elements of the HTR line again with an order volume of 40 million US dollars. X-Energy LLC has been working here since 2018 with the support of the US Department of Energy (DOE) on the further development of the so-called TRISO fuel, which is required for the HTR spheres. "The service includes, among other things, criticality analyzes, the design of production equipment and infrastructure, and the design of fuel transport packaging" (2). The German company SGL Carbon, which was already involved in the production of the spherical fuel elements in South Africa and China, is also there (3).
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German fear at HTR in China: "Altmaier help!"
If you hold this newsletter in your hands, then the daring dream of countless pebble-bed reactor friends may already have become a reality! - Exactly at the place where German colonial troops took possession of a base in the Chinese Kiautschou Bay on the Shandong peninsula over 150 years ago (1). So the connection to this place is very special.
17 years after the decision to build a larger HTR in China, the reactor spheres should roll lively here from December 2018 and the elementary particles busily circling. - But oh dear, what do I have to read now of all times? The German friends of the atom are very worried. Your life's work is allegedly in danger! A pebble bed reactor outside the control of Germany - can that work at all? Can the Copy Chinese do that? As students in Aachen and Jülich, did you always pay attention back then?
As history undoubtedly proves, only Bio-Germans can bring order to the anarchic spherical chaos in the reactor. The Schulten oracle in the large crystal ball has already reported: “Something will happen soon!” In this fateful situation, the highly reputable association “Biokernsp (i) rit” took the initiative to write an urgent letter to Minister Altmaier was actually written on September 10, 2018 and is not (!) satire:
“The Chinese have built and will soon be finished. They implement the reactor technology developed in Jülich, the safest in the world. Unfortunately, German consultants put them on a questionable track, as they did in South Africa. Experienced warners fear that this will also go wrong in China. And what would the result then: this secular German development by Prof. Schulten and his team is discredited around the world. If China doesn't make it, even the US, Japan or Russia won't do it anymore. The German reputation would be lost, the domain of the Minister of Economics. And you just let “the Chinese build it”. I asked you to intervene on February 27. Hence the request once again: join in, you have more options than any ordinary citizen. Please, avert harm from the people! (...) With best regards, Jochen Michels ”.
For me the question arises, do the organic core sprinters know something that we do not know and that is cause for great concern? - Then they should come out with it!
Meanwhile, the Chinese continued to build with the delay typical of pebble bed reactors. On October 2, 2018, they reported that the first steam generator for the HTR-PM had successfully completed the pressure tests: Test passed successfully! (2). - Everything is easy, no need to worry, we can do it, they announce!
In the meantime, the serious, critical discussion about the HTR-PM in China in the media and online continues. In the science magazine “Spektrum”, the journalist Katja Maria Engel wrote on October 9, 10 in the article “New start for an old idea”:
“The chemist and nuclear researcher Rainer Moormann, a former employee at what was then the Jülich nuclear research center, also assumes that several active safety systems protect the Chinese power plant from water vapor: After all, it is known that there is a certain probability that water vapor generators will leak. He thinks, however, that the incident situation can quickly become confusing, which is why the nuclear researcher warns against insufficient protective measures at this point and further suggests significantly more specific safeguards. After all, in an emergency, the hardware and the people would have to react without errors. If water vapor from this second circuit penetrates the hot reactor core, the advantage of the inherent self-protection would be at risk, the graphite could overheat and react with the water. (...)
But even beyond the specific technical details of the Chinese reactor, the old, fundamental questions about this new type of nuclear power plant still arise. Hardly anyone knows how the almost 250 spheres in a reactor behave during operation. “How do I even monitor their condition? Are there hidden hotspots with local temperature peaks? How much do they rub off in operation or can they even break? «Asks the Darmstadt security expert Pistner.
The uncertainty with regard to abrasion and the resulting fine, presumably highly dangerous particles are also criticized by nuclear researcher Moormann together with two scientists from MIT in a current specialist commentary in »Joule«. Dust physics is not fully understood, especially in hot helium gas. "Graphite is an excellent lubricant, but the balls rub off in a dry environment." (...)
The chief engineer of the Zuoyi Zhang nuclear power plant wrote in “Engineering” in 2017: “The HRT-PM is not yet a proven technology. His safety will therefore be continuously improved. «Zhang, a former Humboldt Scholar at what was then the nuclear research center in Jülich, emphasizes that a large part of the research results from collaboration with German scientists, but that the new devices and technology were developed purely on the basis of their own industry" (3).
So the next few months will be really exciting. Can the Chinese reactor actually go into operation? And more importantly: will nothing happen that could endanger the lives of the people in the area?
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Criticism of Generation IV and Thorium reactors
Issue 40 of “Ausgestrahlt magazin” focuses on five pages on the topic of “Generation IV” reactors, which is often neglected in the environmental movement.
The current hype for thorium reactors is discussed in an interview with Rainer Moormann:
“Is there any research on this in Germany? In the Joint Research Center (JRC) in Karlsruhe, a Euratom research center on the premises of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; formerly the Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center and University of Karlsruhe), the development of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR) is largely carried out, including the KIT himself is included on a small scale. There are many publications on this ”.
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Thorium Congress in Brussels
From October 28, 2018, the “Thorium Energy World” congress of the Atomic Friends took place in Brussels. Nuclear power plant opponents from Belgium and the FRG planned a protest and prepared a detailed statement on the thorium issue, which was sent five times in supplemented and corrected versions by email.
Search the reaktorpleite.de with the search term: Thorium
Hydrogen and HTR
On a whole page, Andreas Brändle dealt with the question of whether it would make sense to combine hydrogen production with the operation of high-temperature reactors in “Junge Welt” on June 22nd, 6. Like many others, he comes to the conclusion that, from a physical point of view, the hydrogen economy is a pure waste of energy and only serves the atomic lobby to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
For decades, the same people and companies have always been mentioned here: In addition to Rudolf Schulten, these are Hermann Josef Werhahn, Fritz Vahrenholt, SGL Carbon, AAB, Forschungszentrum Jülich, etc.
Brändle basically provides a good summary of 150 issues of the THTR circular and emphasizes that the "HTR Community" is a combination of an interest-led, dogmatic sect and economic power that has found allies even in red-green governments.
The two articles “There was never an exit from nuclear power” and “Dead-end hydrogen economy” are unfortunately not available online for free.
(Update: The article "There was never a nuclear phase-out"There is, as a PDF file on the Internet.)
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South Africa - uranium mining
Stefan Cramer is still known to many newsletter readers as “our man in South Africa” because, as head of the Böll Foundation, he worked there together with the environmental organization “Earthlife Africa” to prevent the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and continuously for a rain Has provided information exchange.
Stefan is now a retired geologist and is still active in South Africa and nuclear matters.
In issue no. 1 of "afrika süd" he reported in detail how uranium mining could be stopped in the dry semi-desert Karoo in South Africa. In the very sparsely populated area the size of Germany, the Australian mining company Peninsula Energy bought mining rights and land with the help of Russian oligarch capital (200 million US dollars). After the resistance to these efforts was initially low, greater successes could be achieved because the mining company proceeded amateurishly and a completely new plant species was found in the area with an ice plant.
There were over 2.000 petitions against uranium mining to the licensing authorities. Another important reason for the withdrawal of the Australian mining company is the current low uranium price. - Definitely a great success in South Africa!
Search the reaktorpleite.de with the keyword: South Africa
"Left-wing extremist smear sheet"
For some time now, critical media have been feeling more and more of the shift to the right, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
As co-editor of the monthly "Graswurzelrevolution" newspaper, I was initially pleased that even the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia, Stephan Kramer, quoted an analysis from our newspaper by Andreas Kemper in a very detailed and approving manner at a press conference and broadcast on television for several minutes. The article was about the fascist agenda of AfD politician Björn Höcke (1).
The insults, insults and threats that were then descended on us and the constitution protection agency defies description! In addition, Kramer was the former chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany; the Nazi hyperventilates all the more.
The AfD raged against the "left-wing extremist smear" grassroots revolution and the Bild newspaper fueled the hunt like always: "The anarcho-postil has been fighting for the abolition of OUR state since 1972".
A few weeks ago, when I was at the Amnesty International information booth on the edge of the market square in Hamm, where signatures were collected for those persecuted all over the world, I saw a number of outwardly ordinary-looking people rioting, agitating against refugees and advocating pronounced the death penalty. In sight, about a hundred meters away, a media starting point for this agitation was clearly visible: Ironically, the Holota bookstore, where I have bought my books for twenty years, has recently been putting up a double partition with advertising for the Bild newspaper every day in front of their shop and sell this sheet. - Here in Germany things happen that would not have been thought possible until a few years ago.
Reiner Szepan's book “The safest nuclear power plants in the world? A professional settlement with the atomic community "in the publishing house" von Lorbas ".
On several pages, Szepan also deals with the THTR, which he has already commented on several times in the past. Unfortunately, the "accounting" often turns into a downright insult to us benevolent elected officials, whom he calls apparatchiks.
And the sentence “housewives can only be impressed with this demeanor” (p. 65) does not need to be commented on at this point and speaks for itself ...
The book has 92 pages in A4 format and costs 12,90 euros.
WA owner Ippen is fleeing!
The owner of "Westfälischer Anzeiger" (WA) Ippen is right at the forefront where measures against climate change are to be thwarted (see his article from October 13, 10 in the WA) or the wheel of history in terms of employee rights is to be turned back:
"The traditional FSD (Frankfurter Societäts-Druckerei) grew up as the in-house printer of the“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ”(FAZ) and was only taken over last spring by the Ippen newspaper group (Munich) and the Gießen publisher family Rempel (“ Gießener Allgemeine ”). "The new owners want to evade the democratic negotiation of collective agreements and instead dictate wages and working conditions according to the landlord's style," criticized Manfred Moos from ver.di Hessen.
Hessian politicians such as SPD state chief Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel and the Bundestag member Achim Kessler (LINKE) condemn the FSD's flight from collective bargaining and show solidarity with ver.di and the FSD workforce. Here, as in other companies with a high level of trade union organization, a protracted labor dispute is emerging. "(From: Neues Deutschland from November 24, 11)
More information about WA and Ippen:
"Thessaloniki: The Destruction of the 'Jewish City' and its Consequences"
At this point I would like to refer to a longer article by myself in the "Grassroots Revolution", which was highly regarded in the Greek community, reflected on the well-known Jewish side Hagalil and very often disseminated on FB and caused concern. Here is the start:
"Does anyone even think about what happened here before?" Goes through my head as I roam Thessaloniki's noisy streets with their ugly concrete buildings, past crowds of people rushing around with shopping bags.
When I was thirteen I came across a postcard-sized, slim booklet at home: "A short walk through Saloniki. Mementos from the invasion of the German troops in Saloniki on April 9, 1941". It was the last sign of life of my mother's twenty-year-old uncle before he was killed by Greek partisans a few months later. My interest was piqued.
Fifty years after the booklet was discovered, I'm here. Almost nothing is left of the former Jewish metropolis. I wonder how 46.000 Sephardic Jews from Saloniki could be deported to Auschwitz and almost all of them killed?
How is this past being dealt with in Thessaloniki and in Germany? Thessaloniki's liberal mayor Giannis Boutaris, who has been campaigning for the memory of the murdered Jews in his office since 2014, was beaten by right-wing extremists in front of 2018 spectators at an event in April 4.000 and was only able to get into a car with difficulty, which was subsequently was demolished. (...)
As in Germany, right-wing extremist tendencies and anti-Semitism have increased significantly in recent years. "
First of all I would like to thank you for the congratulations and the encouragement for the anniversary edition 150. It is by no means a matter of course that a magazine that deals with such a special topic will still appear. - However, I had to write an article about this anniversary myself. And indeed - how could it be otherwise - in the "Grassroots Revolution" in September 2018. It can be viewed here, supplemented by 20 images from the various old front pages:
On September 15, 2018, at the invitation of the NRW state working group Energie der Grünen, which met in Hamm, I gave a one-hour lecture on the subject of "THTR: Between decommissioning and dismantling". A lengthy, interesting discussion took place and I asked the Greens to ask the state parliament in the near future what the roadmap for the dismantling looks like in concrete terms, as there is currently no meaningful current information on this.
Imprint: The THTR-Rundbrief is published by the citizens' initiative for environmental protection Hamm, c / o Horst Blume, Schleusenweg 10, 59071 Hamm. Editing and texts: Horst Blume.
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