Anti-nuclear movement in Austria

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Construction of the first Austrian nuclear power plant in Zwentendorf on the Danube, about 30 kilometres upstream from the capital, Vienna, began in 1972. Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant was designed as a boiling water reactor with a capacity of 700 MW(e), that was expected to generate about 10% of the Austrian electricity production. [1]

Nuclear power plant thermal power station where the heat source is a nuclear reactor

A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is a nuclear reactor. As is typical of thermal power stations, heat is used to generate steam that drives a steam turbine connected to a generator that produces electricity. As of 2014, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports there are 450 nuclear power reactors in operation in 31 countries.

Zwentendorf Place in Lower Austria, Austria

Zwentendorf an der Donau is a small market municipality in the Austrian state of Lower Austria. It is located at 48°21′N15°54′E, in the Tulln Basin on the southern bank of the Danube. The place attained public attention as the site of the only Austrian nuclear power station, which was completed but never went into operation. In a referendum on 5 November 1978, a narrow majority of 50.5% voted against putting the Zwentendorf nuclear plant into operation.

Vienna Capital of Austria

Vienna is the national capital, largest city, and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.


Many groups in the public society stood up against this commercial-technical development. From heritage and family-oriented more conservative people to utopian-driven leftists, activists for nature and the environment to critical technicians. They organised in a platform called "IÖAG - Initiative österreichischer Atomkraftwerksgegner" (transliterated: IOeAG), edited a simple DIN A5 brochure "Wie ist das mit den Atomkraftwerken wirklich?" (What is it about the nuclear power plants, really?) and an in volume and circulation growing newspaper, both financed by private members and a selling price. Many activists organised in groups, presented information desks, spoke to passing people visited and contributed offensive to official information events.

However, in June 1978, the Socialist Chancellor Dr. Kreisky, announced a referendum on nuclear power, which was set down for November 5, 1978. The referendum resulted in a narrow majority against the Zwentendorf plant. Nearly two thirds of the voters (3.26 million people) went to the polls and of these 49.5% voted for, and 50.5% against, nuclear power.

Social Democratic Party of Austria one of the oldest political parties in Austria

The Social Democratic Party of Austria is a social-democratic political party in Austria. The oldest extant political party in Austria, the SPÖ is a member of the Socialist International, Progressive Alliance, and Party of European Socialists. Before adopting the current title in 1991, the SPÖ was named Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria from 1888 to 1945 and, later, Socialist Party of Austria until 1991. Along with the People's Party it is one of the country's two traditional major parties.

Chancellor of Austria Head of government of the Republic of Austria

The Chancellor of Austria is the head of government of the Austrian Republic. The chancellor chairs and leads the cabinet, which is composed of the Chancellor, the vice chancellor and the ministers. Together with the president, who is head of state, the cabinet forms the country's executive branch leadership.

Bruno Kreisky Austrian diplomat and chancellor

Bruno Kreisky was an Austrian politician who served as Foreign Minister from 1959 to 1966 and as Chancellor from 1970 to 1983. He is considered perhaps Austria's most successful Socialist leader, and a figure who parlayed a small country's neutrality into a major moral and political role on the world stage. Aged 72 at the end of his chancellorship, he was the oldest Chancellor after World War II. His 13-year tenure was the longest of any Chancellor in republican Austria.

Newspapers did not write much about accidents, that already had happened until then. But Verbundkonzern - owning the big water power plants (and the grid) in Austria - feared a lowering of the price of electricity by the upcoming of nuclear power and started an advertising campaign in the months before the referendum in "Kronenzeitung". Suddenly this wide circulated newspaper published a series about the history and the accidents of nuclear power.

The Zwentendorf plant was completed but has never produced electricity from nuclear energy. [1] [2]

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann expects anti-nuclear petition drives to start in at least six European Union countries in 2012 with the goal of having the EU abandon nuclear power. Under the EU's Lisbon Treaty, petitions that attract at least one million signatures can seek legislative proposals from the European Commission. This would pave the way for anti-nuclear activists to increase support. [3]

Werner Faymann Austrian politician who was Chancellor of Austria and chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Austria

Werner Faymann is a former Austrian politician who was Chancellor of Austria and chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) from 2008 to 2016. On 9 May 2016, Faymann resigned from both positions amid widening criticism within his party.


The Österreichische Mediathek is the Austrian archive for sound recordings and videos on cultural and contemporary history. It was founded in 1960 as Österreichische Phonothek by the Ministry of Education and has been a branch of the Technisches Museum Wien since 2001. As video and sound archive, the Österreichische Mediathek is responsible for the preservation of the Austrian audio-visual cultural heritage.

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Hildegard Breiner is from Vorarlberg, Austria, where she and her late husband led the anti-nuclear campaign against Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant in the 1970s. In 1978, an unprecedented 85 percent of the voters in Vorarlberg cast their votes against Zwentendorf, tipping the scales of the nationwide referendum. In the second half of the 1980s, Hildegard Breiner played a major role in opposition to the nuclear reprocessing plant Wackersdorf to be built at Wackersdorf in neighbouring Bavaria, Germany. In 2004, Hildegard Breiner received the Nuclear-Free Future Lifetime Achievement Award.

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In 2008, nuclear energy provided Switzerland with 40 percent of its electricity, but a survey of Swiss people found that only seven percent of respondents were totally in favor of energy production by nuclear power stations. Many large anti-nuclear demonstrations and protests have occurred over the years.

Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant nuclear power plant in Austria, never entered service

The Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant was the first commercial nuclear plant for electric power generation built in Austria, of 3 nuclear plants originally envisioned. Construction of the plant at Zwentendorf, Austria was finished but the plant never entered service. The start-up of the Zwentendorf plant, as well as the construction of the other 2 plants, was prevented by a referendum on 5 November 1978. A narrow majority of 50.47% voted against the start-up.

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Nuclear energy in Austria

In the 1960s the Austrian government started a nuclear energy program and parliament unanimously ordered a nuclear power plant built. In 1972, the German company KWU began construction of the Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant boiling water 700 MWe reactor. In 1976, two years prior to the nuclear power plant opening, the government began a program to educate its citizens on the benefits and safety of nuclear power. However, this campaign began a public discussion that led to large demonstrations against the Zwentendorf plant in 1977. On 15 December 1978, the Austrian Parliament voted in favor of a ban on using nuclear fission for Austria’s energy supply until March 1998. This law also prohibits the storage and transport of nuclear materials in or through Austria. On 9 July 1997, the Austrian Parliament unanimously passed legislation to remain an anti-nuclear country.

1978 Austrian nuclear power referendum

A referendum on the use of nuclear power was held in Austria on 5 November 1978. Voters were asked whether they approve a law allowing the peaceful use of nuclear power, particularly relating to the start-up of the Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant. Voters narrowly rejected it, with 50.5% voting against. As a result, although the Power Plant was finished, it was never operated and has since been dismantled.

Solar power in Austria

As of the end of 2014, solar power in Austria amounted to 766 megawatt (MW) of cumulative photovoltaic (PV) capacity, of which more than three quarters were installed within the last four years. Solar PV generated 766 gigawatt-hours, or about 1.4% of the country's final electricity consumption. As with most other European countries, 99.5 percent of all solar power systems are connected to the electrical grid. The nation's installed PV capacity by inhabitant stood at 91 watts, still below the European Union's 2014-average of 172 watts.

Occupation of the Hainburger Au

The Occupation of the Hainburger Au wetlands in December 1984 marked a turning point for environmental awareness in German speaking central Europe and was of great significance for the development of democratic processes in Austria.


  1. 1 2 Austria's no to nuclear power
  2. Austria‘s Anti-Nuclear Crusade
  3. "Austria expects EU anti-nuclear campaign this year". Reuters. Mar 12, 2012.