The last three power plants go offline

The last three power plants go offline

EIt’s been twelve years since Carsten Müller knew that he would have to say goodbye to a multiple world champion. “When I saw the pictures from Japan, I knew it was over.” Müller is the plant manager of the Isar 2 nuclear power plant in Lower Bavaria. 600 billion kilowatt hours of electricity have been generated there since the late 1970s, which over time is about as much as Germany consumes in one year, Müller calculates in the visitor center of the nuclear power plant.

In this center, the company Preussenelektra showed the people in the country how they generate nuclear power. The Isar 2 pressurized water reactor was “world champion in annual electricity generation” more than ten times, says a display board. Müller has even more numbers ready. Millions and millions of tons of CO2 have saved on nuclear power compared to generating electricity from coal and gas. A technology made for the climate crisis, that’s how you see it here.

Nevertheless, like all German nuclear power plants, Isar 2 was given an expiry date after the Fukushima disaster. There is already nobody left in the visitor center, shortly before the end this Saturday, when the nuclear phase-out will be completed here, when this “powerhouse”, as Preussenelektra proudly puts it, will be taken off the grid.

Contributed five percent to electricity generation

A puppet is standing there in a light yellow full-body overalls, all around the airlock has been reconstructed which, a few meters away, behind two rows of barbed wire, shields the interior of the reactor building from the outside world in the power plant on the other side of the street. What is happening there? “In the reactor, atomic nuclei are split with the help of neutrons,” says the exhibition. Water is heated, which does not evaporate under high pressure, but passes on the heat, heating other water outside the radioactive zone, which in turn drives a turbine and thus generates electricity. An “original turbine blade” is set up in the visitor center, driven for twenty years in block Isar 1 with radioactive steam. There, too, an explanation: “Used in the last row of a low-pressure turbine, peak rotational speed 439 meters per second”.

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