Nuclear Power Plant Gösgen

23 Jan. 2010

A very pleasant and reasonably priced lunch was had at the local Beiz in Däniken, the Rebstock, accompanied by a local white wine based on Pinot Noir – you don’t often find that. From there several people walked for ca. 20 minutes and others drove to the Kernkraftwerk Gösgen (KKG), and by the appointed starting time of 1430 almost all of us (20) had arrived.

The first part was a 10-15 min. Disney-Avatar-like multimedia whopper of how important electricity is in our daily lives, followed by a proper introduction to the facilities at Däniken. The KKG is a 1’000 megawatt reactor, one of two large ones in Switzerland. KKG celebrated its 30th anniversary last year; it supplies 13% of the electricity of all of Switzerland. KKG operates 11 months of the year and shuts down in June (the month when Swiss consumption is lowest and hydro power is pretty high) for refueling, maintenance, etc. During its 24/7 operation nine people run the whole show, and their job is to read newspapers and play cards, because everything should be running constantly and smoothly.

The plant costs slightly more than CHF 1 million per day to operate and produces electricity at a cost of roughly CHF 0.045/kWh; in comparison, solar power is estimated at 0.60 and wind energy at 0.13. It is owned mainly by electric companies and partly by the cities of Berne and Zürich. All in all, a super visit!

Howard Hornfeld