Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Swiss Court Withdraws Mühleberg Nuclear Plant Licence

The Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant has one boiling water reactor made by GE, the same type as in Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

From (3/7/2012):

The Mühleberg atomic plant near Bern will lose its operating licence at the end of June 2013 on security grounds, the Federal Administrative Court has ruled.

The court upheld a complaint by local opponents of the plant against the indefinite extension of the plant's licence by the environment ministry, granted at the end of 2009.

The 1972 plant, one of the oldest in Switzerland, is run by BKW Energy. Last September it was restarted after three months of annual checks and safety improvements.

Before the court’s ruling, Mühleberg's licence was open-ended as long as it met national nuclear safety requirements.

All Swiss atomic plants are due to be decommissioned by 2034, in line with the government’s decision to opt out of atomic energy, announced last May.

In the wake of last year’s crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, the Swiss government suspended all applications for the building of new power plants and ordered a review of options for the country’s energy mix in the future. and agencies


netudiant said...

We are in a world of make believe.
Much as Japan is a poor country living off its industrial capacity, Switzerland, also poor, is living off tourism and financial services. As the world gets poorer, both sectors will be under pressure.
At the same time, the Swiss government decides that it needs to replace a well run and smoothly working plant with additional fossil fuel imports. Where is the logic?

Tom in AZ said...

"netudiant said... "
Hey troll, it is already 40 years old. The Swiss get it, that it is a time bomb. An what happens to the tourism then? Or your irradiated undeclared gold bars?

Anonymous said...


i've just watched a docu, fukushima: the truth behind the 'super gau', on (link:
i don't know if it is available outside germany and france, but it's good.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Tom in AZ, netudiant is not troll.

Nuclear Skeptic said...

Please read the 2002 book called "tritium on ice" by nuclear physicist Kenneth D Bergeron. NRC commissioned Sandia Labs' work for several years after 1987 to model how Mark 1 containment fails, specifically the containment failure mode called "Direct Containment Heating" (DCH). It transpires that DCH is a blueprint for the observed explosive phenomena at Fuku-Daiichi Unit 3.

They knew for the past 25 years that the Mk.1 design could fail catastrophically by DCH mode!!

Nuke industry lobbied congress to starve NRC of funds for follow-up work to make this design safe(er) or to shut them all down.

Yes siree, the US Congress is the best legislature that money can buy.

"tritium on ice" is published by MIT Press

netudiant said...

Thanks to our moderator for the expression of confidence!
Tom, I know the plant is older. Do note power facilities run for decades, with a number of US licenses at 60 years currently. Here in NYC ConEd finally shut down a generator dating back to Edisons day sometime in the 1980s, if memory serves.
Switzerland is geologically stable, has a clean environment that fossil fuels will not help and has a tradition of excellence in power generation and electrical engineering. If the technical competence has sunk to the point the Swiss cannot run this facility safely, the problems are bigger than Fukushima.

Anonymous said...

I think second-guessing the Swiss is pretty useless, especially seeing as the security challenges perceived had to do specifically with earthquake and flooding.

Fukushima accident costs ended up being covered by the Japanese government and the Japanese public, no? I keep reading about a bailout fund, 25% increase in electricity cost, "smart metering" (another word for arbitrary higher prices). I can't see the Swiss public being eager for the same.

Moreover, it's a small country. I went to google maps and drew a 20-km circle around Mühleberg NPP. What do you know? Bern is in it.

Anonymous said...

A step in the right direction in my opinion.

However, there are 3 additional sites in Switzerland as well as a few research reactors according to Wiki so it's not like there are all being shut down right away (staggered shutdown sounds like the way to go to me though). Hopefully they will all close on time but time and enough money can change things like this.

Interestingly wiki also shows the Swis have already suffered a partial meltdown of a reactor from what looks like a design issue, admittedly a test reactor in 1969 and it stayed in the containment so was not such a big event (or at least thats what I have read). Some of the reactors working today in Switzerland were built around then though so just because it was a while ago does not mean it is not relevant, it still melted.

Maybe the Swiss just don't want to risk destroying their country/the planet for the sake of a promise of cheap power (cheap being debatable - I think the real cost is a lot more than let on by those who profit from it).

Anonymous said...

Where is the logic?
A country with approximately 16,000 sq. miles of land choosing to shut down an aging reactor with a now fully demonstrated containment design failure.
As the problem with the GE Mark 1 has been known from the beginning, yet still sold and built, why would it be logical to rely on "technical competence" ?
As far as Switzerland being poor, does having one of the highest per capita GDP's make you poor?

Shut down all GE Mark 1 reactors.

Atomfritz said...

@ netudiant

Sorry, I have to ask you whether you knew of the Basel 1356 and 1357 earthquakes, which magnitude was an estimated 6.5 (which is disputed recently as it could have even been more).

The French stress test revealed that the French Fessenheim NPP wouldn't resist a new such earthquake without significant tubing break, even a LOCA couldn't be excluded then, if it's 0.5 higher magnitude.

Both Muehleberg and Fessenheim are near Basel.
The Swiss probably learnt more of a lesson than the Japanese govt, as the groundwater contamination of the Swiss Lucens meltdown of 1969 begins to spread, endangering more and more water wells.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see some countries are thinking smarter and actually learnt a lesson from the Fukushima meltdowns. I hope more will follow, including our gov USA.

Sadly my native country Japan is still working hard to miss the wake-up calls after one year... See

Anonymous said...

netudiant said... "Switzerland is geologically stable" at March 7, 2012 10:13 PM

In very general terms, Precambrian Continental Shield areas (Northern Canada, Siberia, for example) are stable being the oldest and hardest rocks you can see at the surface and the most geologically homogeneous being furthest from plate boundaries. It might be best to site complex engineering constructions in these areas.

Switzerland is almost wholly within the Alpine chain, one of the most recent - and still active - mountain building zones in the world lying as it does on the tectonic plate boundary between Africa and Eurasia.

The Alpine chain cannot be considered, in geological terms, stable.

Smith said...

please keep it up..
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