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Mercredi, 04 Janvier 2012 12:30

Swing Till You Puke—Inside a Nuclear Cooling Tower

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  • 12:00 pm  | 
  • Wired January 2012

Photo: Fabrizio Giraldi/LUZphoto

Kids trapped indoors by cold weather are prone to meltdown. But some lucky German parents will soon be able to go nuclear on them—by taking them to an indoor amusement park at a 327-megawatt atomic energy plant. It’s called Wunderland Kalkar, and it’s built on the remains of SNR-300, a shuttered fast breeder north of Dusseldorf in Germany. The park already features more than 40 outdoor attractions, including a swing ride in the cooling tower (shown), and it welcomes roughly 600,000 visitors each year. Its new winter annex, currently being developed, will be in the actual reactor building. And no need to worry that all the fun will give kids an unhealthy green glow: SNR-300 was never active. Construction problems and protests kept the facility from coming online, and eventually Hennie van der Most, a Dutch entrepreneur, bought the complex for a rumored $3 billion and transformed it into the epic playground it is today. The Wunderland includes four restaurants, eight bars, and six hotels, all in view of the telltale cooling tower—there’s even a climbing wall going up one side. Too bad the nine operational reactors Germany will decommission by 2022 can’t be repurposed the same way.


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