Abgeordnete Besuchen Kernkraftwerk (LFS00465)

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Events filmed or related

Besuch Kernkraftwerk


Members of the Baden-Württemberg Parliament visit the nuclear power plant under construction in Karlsruhe (Leopoldshafen).


Reference / film number :  LFS00465
Date :  1957
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Timecode :  00:09:18
Running time :  00:00:00
Reel format :  16 mm
Genre :  Amateur movie
Thematics :  Ecology, Industry
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

After the attempts of the military use of the nuclear energy in the Second World War in the 1950er the civil use became into the focus. Above all, it was a project desired by politicians, as the foundation of the 'Federal Ministry for Nuclear Questions' in October 1955 underlined. Because before that, it was forbidden for the Federal Republic by the Control Council Law to build its own nuclear power plants. The use of nuclear energy has always been discussed in connection with rearmament, the founding of the Bundeswehr in November 1955 and its nuclear equipment; the Americans stationed atomic artillery guns starting from 1953 in the West Germany. On the other hand protested the initiative "fight the atomic death". In the GDR, the National People's Army (NVA) was founded in January 1956, and the Soviet Union stored from 1958 nuclear weapons in the territory of the GDR. Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer appointed the ambitious CSU politician Franz Josef Strauss as the first minister, who changed to the Ministry of Defense after just one year. His successor from 1956 to 1961 was Siegfried Balke. The new 'nuclear minister' Strauss was firmly committed to the new technology and demanded that new nuclear power plants in 1970 should deliver the first power. An important role was played by the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, founded by Minister Strauß as 'Kernreaktorbau- und Betriebsgesellschaft mbH' in 1956, later renamed the 'Nuclear Research Society' and finally the 'Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center', working closely with the University of Karlsruhe. Since 2009 it is called neutral, 'Karlsruhe Institute of Technology' (KIT).

90% of the research center was financed by federal funds and only 10% by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The goal was basic research and the construction of a heavy water reactor for research purposes, which was built just outside of Karlsruhe in Leopoldshafen. This was built from 1957 and operated until 1981. A multi-purpose research reactor was in operation between 1965 and 1984. Finally, the prototype of a breeder reactor was built, which was to test the possibility of recycling nuclear fuel rods between 1971 and 1991. This was one of the focal points of the research. In the mid-1980s, an institute for meteorology and climate research was added. In 1997, one of the first institutes for nanotechnology was established there in cooperation between the universities of Karlsruhe and Strasbourg. The pride of the district of Karlsruhe on nuclear technology is shown in the fact that an atom model became part of the coat of arms. It shows an atomic nucleus, which is encircled by two electrons, as the first shot of the film shows. The inscription "The district with the atomic center" also makes this very clear. Within a few months, the district office approved the research reactor FR 2 as a nuclear facility. The rise to nominal power after nearly four years initially failed because of defective core tanks. This delayed the launch by another 20 months and marked a setback to the euphoria of the technical progress by atom.

The film shows the visit of members of the state parliament in Stuttgart to the nuclear research center under construction, which is not as well secured as later nuclear facilities. The construction site sign locates the photos in Leopoldshafen, a former fishing village. The bus leaves and the deputies get off. The atmosphere seems relaxed and the camera crew can even take shots of the interior of the reactor, as it is not yet in operation at this time. The cooling towers are turned from the bottom view with strong black and white contrasts. An employee pinches a control clip on her white coat; this is shown again in close up. The core area of ​​the reactor is modern. He can be circled with a crane that also equips him with fuel rods. The control center with electrical control elements seemed futuristic at the time. Everything seems under control. Apparently, the picture of a modern operation is shown, which produces electricity in a clean way. The excursion ends in the light-flooded canteen with an evening beer. Final scene is the view of the reactor from the outside with a few trees in front of it. The dangers of using nuclear energy only became an issue in the 1970s when protests against nuclear power plants began.

Kay Hoffmann

Places and monuments



Die Geschichte von Bau und Betrieb des deutschen Schnellbrüter-Kernkraftwerks KNK II, Karlsruhe 1993

SPERLING, Peter, "Geschichten aus der Geschichte. 50 Jahre Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe", Karlsruhe 2006.

  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.