Detailed view

A nuclear power plant – an industrial monument?

In an artec paper back in 2017, Julia Kieselhorst examined whether a decommissioned nuclear power plant qualifies as an industrial monument. With the last remaining nuclear power plants in Germany going off the grid on 15 April 2023, the idea gains new relevance

Germany claims to be the country of the energy transition. The 2011 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act formally decided to phase out nuclear power. At the end of 15 April 2023, the last three remaining nuclear power plants Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim will be taken off the grid. For this occasion, we would like to draw your attention to a paper published in 2017 at the artec Sustainability Research Center, which looks at the future of the decommissioned power plant buildings from an exciting, because unusual, perspective.

Preserving a decommissioned nuclear power plant could be instructive, if not imperative

Julia Kieselhorst follows the captivating idea that one or more of the decommissioned nuclear power plants should be turned into an industrial monument. Without a doubt, these plants stand for their own technical era of energy production in Germany, which is now coming to an end. At the same time, they also stand for social controversies that have contributed to shaping German history over many decades, from the "Atomtod" debates of the 1950s to the ongoing debates about permanent storage, which have long focused on the Gorleben site and have by no means come to an end. Against this backdrop, the preservation of a decommissioned nuclear power plant – in a suitable form that has yet to be determined – could be instructive, if not imperative. The legal and technical difficulties, as well as the inevitably long time perspective, constitute considerable obstacles on the way to implementation. The starting point and the basic idea of the presented work are nevertheless intuitively plausible and stimulating.

The study was originally conducted as a thesis in the Master's programme in Urban and Regional Development at the University of Bremen and supervised at the artec Sustainability Research Center. A streamlined and revised version was published in December 2017 in the artec paper series.

Ein Atomkraftwerk als Industriedenkmal (artec-Paper 216) [German language]

Ansicht des Reaktorgebäudes und Schornstein des Atomkraftwerks Brokdorfs vor grauem Himmel, im Vordergrund eine grüne Wiese und Laubbäume
Das Atomkraftwerk Brokdorf wurde bereits am 31. Dezember 2021 abgeschaltet. Aufgrund seiner Widerstandsgeschichte könnte es als mögliches Industriedenkmal besonders interessant sein.