View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Analysis
October 16, 2019updated 18 Jun 2020 1:24pm

The world’s oldest nuclear power plant

A look at Beznau nuclear power plant in Switzerland, the world’s oldest nuclear power plant currently in operation.

By Jack Unwin

Following the end of the Second World War, nuclear power developed alongside nuclear weaponry. The first test of nuclear power took place at the X-10 Graphite Reactor at the Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee in 1948.

Free Report
img

Delve into the renewable energy prospects for Morocco

In its new low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategy to 2050, submitted to the United Nations (UN), the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development (MEM) of Morocco suggested to raise the share of renewable capacity in the country’s total power installed capacity mix to 80%.   Morocco currently aims to increase the share of renewables in total power capacity to 52% by 2030. The new strategy plans to increase the share of renewable capacity to 70% by 2040 and 80% by 2050.  GlobalData’s expert analysis delves into the current state and potential growth of the renewable energy market in Morocco. We cover: 
  • The 2020 target compared to what was achieved 
  • The 2030 target and current progress 
  • Energy strategy to 2050 
  • Green hydrogen 
  • Predictions for the way forward  
Download the full report to align your strategies for success and get ahead of the competition.   
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

After this, the first full scale nuclear power plant was the Obninsk nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union in 1954. But this plant was decommissioned in after a solid 48 years of producing power, so what is the world’s oldest nuclear plant still in operation?

Beznau nuclear power plant

Beznau nuclear power plant in Northern Switzerland takes the honour of being the oldest nuclear power currently in use.

Construction on the plant began in 1965 and Beznau 1 began producing power on 1 September 1969, with Beznau 2 following in 1972. It has two pressurised water reactors (PWR) built by Westinghouse with a capacity of 365MW each, for a total capacity of 730MW and able to produce 6000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. The plant is owned and operated by Swiss private company Axpo Holdings.

Accidents will happen

Despite its long run producing power, Beznau has been no stranger to accidents at its site. According to the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, there were 91 nuclear security incidents between 1995 and 2014.

However 86 of these were at level 0 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), the least severe on its scale. Four were at level 1 and one in 2009 that was level 2, when two workers at the plant were exposed to “inadmissible” levels of radiation .

Following its reopening four incidents were recorded at in 2018.

Protests and closure

Protestors in Switzerland have targeted Beznau in particular, and nuclear power in general. Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, 20,000 protestors gathered in the town of Doettingen to condemn Beznau in the largest anti-nuclear protest in the country for 25 years.

In 2014 100 Greenpeace activists broke into Beznau and scaled one of the buildings at the site with a banner proclaiming “the end” of nuclear power due to safety concerns for the ageing plant.

These concerns appeared to be well-founded in October 2015 when Beznau 1 was found to have 1000 holes, cracks and indentations around the reactor.

Beznau was closed for repairs when “anomalies” were found in its steam generators from March 2015 to March 2018.

The future of nuclear power in Switzerland

Despite still producing power and being one of five nuclear plants that form35% of Switzerland’s energy mix, Beznau and nuclear power itself is under threat.

Switzerland will instead develop renewable energy from wind, solar and hydropower as part of its Energy Strategy 2050 plan. Meanwhile there will be no new general licenses for nuclear power plants, but old plants like Beznau will continue to run until they are decommissioned.

Despite its age, safety problems and public mistrust, Beznau nuclear power plant still produces power and is a key part of Switzerland’s energy mix.

Related Companies

Free Report
img

Delve into the renewable energy prospects for Morocco

In its new low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategy to 2050, submitted to the United Nations (UN), the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development (MEM) of Morocco suggested to raise the share of renewable capacity in the country’s total power installed capacity mix to 80%.   Morocco currently aims to increase the share of renewables in total power capacity to 52% by 2030. The new strategy plans to increase the share of renewable capacity to 70% by 2040 and 80% by 2050.  GlobalData’s expert analysis delves into the current state and potential growth of the renewable energy market in Morocco. We cover: 
  • The 2020 target compared to what was achieved 
  • The 2030 target and current progress 
  • Energy strategy to 2050 
  • Green hydrogen 
  • Predictions for the way forward  
Download the full report to align your strategies for success and get ahead of the competition.   
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Wednesday. The power industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing to Power Technology