Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2013
Even renowned Swiss engineering can’t prevent radiation releases from nuclear reactors, it appears. The Muehleberg reactor near Bern has contaminated Lake Biel, which is used for drinking water, in the northeast town of Biel. Cesium-137 has settled into the 9-mile long lake after traveling down the Aare River from the reactor 12 miles upstream. University of Geneva geologists discovered the contamination while conducting research. Authorities say cesium contaminated the river during two incidents in 1998 and 1999. However, according to press reports, the reactor routinely releases contaminated water to the River Aare. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster has also been blamed for cesium-137 deposits in lakes throughout the country. Numerous communities exist along the Aare as it flows into the southern end of Lake Biel. The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate reports that the Muehleberg reactor operates with fissures in the core cover. Following the German example, the Swiss government has vowed to permanently shut down all five Swiss reactors by 2034.
— The Local, July 16; PressTV & Pan European Networks, July 15; Agence France Presse, July 14; Reuters, Mar. 28, 2013