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Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant

The Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant

The Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant was the first commercial nuclear plant for electric power generation built in Austria, of 3 nuclear plants originally envisioned. Construction of the plant at Zwentendorf, Austria was finished but the plant never entered service. The start-up of the Zwentendorf plant, as well as the construction of the other 2 plants, was prevented by a referendum on 5 November 1978. A narrow majority of 50.47% voted against the start-up.[1][2]

Construction of the plant began in April 1972, as a boiling-water reactor rated at 692 megawatts electric power output. It was built by a joint venture of several Austrian electric power companies. The initial cost of the plant was around 5.2 billion Austrian schilling, approximately 1.4 billion Euro adjusted for inflation.[3] The ventilation stack chimney of the plant is 110 metres tall. Since the plebiscite, the plant has been partially deconstructed. The Dürnrohr Power Station was built nearby as a replacement thermal power station.

Following the 1978 referendum, no commercial nuclear power plant (built for the purpose of producing electricity) ever went into operation in Austria. In 1978, a law Austria was enacted prohibiting the construction and operation of fission reactors for electrical power generation, hence the plant nowadays is used for research purposes. Three small nuclear reactors for scientific purposes had been built in the 1960s, one of these plants is still being operated.[4]

Current useEdit

The plant was bought by the Austrian energy company EVN Group in 2005 who established a security training centre there,[5] and who rents out the power plant for filming, photography and other events.[6]

A Solar Power Plant has been constructed on the premises, which went into operation on June 25, 2009. After completion, 1000 solar panels on the site provided approximately 180 MWh of electricity per year. In comparison, the nuclear power plant could theoretically have produced up to 5,455,728 MWh of electricity per year (assuming a 90% capacity factor).

In association with the Technical University Vienna, a research center (the Photovoltaik-Forschungszentrum Zwentendorf) was founded at the site. The research center is equipped with a 190 kW photovoltaic system consisting of two modules with solar tracking assemblies.

The plant is also used to operator training by the Kraftwerksschule e.V. The current operator of the plant allows visits to the complex.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Austria's no to nuclear power Peter Weish
  2. ^ Austria‘s Anti-Nuclear Crusade Euro Nuclear
  3. ^ Zwentendorf atomic power plant Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine AKW Zwentendorf
  4. ^ General Atomics TRIGA Mark-II Archived January 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Scientific reactor operated by the Technical University Vienna
  5. ^ "Snakes on a plant". World Nuclear News. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  6. ^ "The nuclear power plant Zwentendorf - A unique location for television, film, and photography". EVN AG & PRIMA VISTA Media & Consulting GmbH. 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2016.

External linksEdit