Archives

Focus

On January 21, 1969, in an experimental nuclear power plant near Lucens in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, an incident of serious consequences happened. Just a few hours after technicians had started up the reactor following a revision lasting several months, problems with the coolant system led to an overheating of the fuel assemblies and a partial core meltdown. One of the fuel rods melted and exploded. Subsequently, the reactor cavern was badly contaminated. Radioactive gases escaped through leaks so that measurements in the surrounding villages registered a slight increase in radioactivity. A major catastrophe could only be avoided because it was a small reactor built in subterranean rock. The decontamination and the prolonged clean-up operations were not completed until May 1973. In total, this produced 250 barrels of radioactive waste, which have been stored in the interim storage Würenlingen since 2003. To this day, the Federal Office of Public Health monitors the radioactivity in the leachate of the Lucens facility with biweekly samples. On the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, the core meltdown in Lucens is rated among the most serious incidents in the peaceful uses of atomic energy. This incident signified the end of a Swiss-developed reactor type. Today, the accessible parts of the former nuclear facility serve as a depot for cultural goods. (axa)


In spring 1944, a school class from Bönigen made a ski trip to the Bernese Oberland. (luk)

© 2019 KEYSTONE Impressum Contact | FAQ | Terms & Conditions