In 1972, the nuclear reactor SNR-300 started construction as the biggest of its kind in Germany.
Designed to use plutonium as fuel and sodium as cooling agent, the reactor had a higher potential for disaster than most conventional reactors. This created controversy in the surrounding communities, whose protests delayed the construction but failed to fully put a stop to it. Nonetheless when the reactor was finally completed, the authorities ultimately banned it from operation due to high risk of contamination. In the end, the power plant was left completely unused as one of the most expensive, complicated pieces of trash in the world.
That was until 1991 when the complex was sold to a Dutch entrepreneur Hennie van der Most for the rumored cost of USD$3 billion. Leaving the cooling tower in place, he set up an amusement park he called “Kernies Wunderland,” later changed to “Wunderland Kalkar.” The theme park now receives around 600,000 visitors each year.
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