Hamm-Uentrop (Germany)

Map of Hamm-Uentrop

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The THTR-300 in Hamm/Uentrop has been out of operation since 1989, because the company in charge of the plant - HKG - was unable to control it properly and covered up serious problems. The reactor due to be built in South Africa, the PBMR (Pebble Bed Modular Reactor), is an advanced version of the THTR.
(source: www.reaktorpleite.de)

Facilities in Hamm-Uentrop

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down

After being delayed für almost half a year, the report on the costs of decommissioning the Thorium High Temperature Reactor at Hamm-Uentrop, Germany, was published in December 2008. It is estimated that costs for safe enclosure of the reactor till 2033, and decommissioning frop 2030 -- 2044 will cost 460 million euro.

In 1971 construction of THTR began and in 1985 the reactor was opened. The reactor faced serious safety problems and in May 1986 (a week after the Chernobyl accident), radioactive gas escaped from the cooling system, after graphite-fuel balls stuck in the fuel inlet. Other problems occurred when fuel balls were damaged and with sticking control rods. In 1989 the reactor was permamently closed due to economic and political reasons.

The total price tag für the proto-type reactor will rise to 5.3 billion euro: 2.39 for developement; 2.04 construction; 0.42 closure and enclosure till 2009; 0.11 enclosure 2009 -- 2030 and decommissioning 2030 -- 2044 0.34 billion. Keeping in mind the reactor supplied electricity only 423 days, this could well be the most expensive electricity ever produced!

source: Press Release BI Hamm, 9. December 2008 out of www.reaktorpleite.de


An experimental THTR-300 PBMR located in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany was touted as the beginning of a “new generation” of accident resistant reactor design. After the Chernobyl accident and graphite fire the West German government disclosed that on May 4 the 300-megawatt PBMR at Hamm released radiation after one of its spherical fuel pebbles became lodged in the pipe used to deliver fuel elements to the reactor. Operator actions to dislodge the obstruction during the event damaged the fuel pebble cladding releasing radiation into the environment. Radioactive fallout was found as far as two kilometers from the reactor due to the PBMR inherent lack of containment in its design. The fallout in the region was initially blamed on the Chernobyl accident, which happened nine days earlier. Scientists in the Freiburg area reported that as much as 70 % of the region’s contamination was not of the type released from the Chernobyl disaster, it was due to other sources. An attempt to conceal the reactor malfunction combined with mounting public pressure due to the recent Chernobyl accident caused the German government to order the reactor closed pending a review. Continued technical problems resulted in the unit’s full closure in late 1988. The government refused further funding in lieu of decommissioning the reactor.
(source: http://www.environment.co.za/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1225)