Nuclear Power

Documentary Nuclear Power

No other technology was praised in the GDR as high as the nuclear energy and none was connected with bigger expectations. In the wishful thinking of men from the Politburo, the nuclear age should transform the working-class and agricultural state into an efficient industrial nation. At the same time the nuclear energy was a propaganda vehicle to demonstrate the superiority of the socialism to the western foreign countries. To realise this idea, the whole Nuclear-Power-Plant-technology should be delivered from the Soviet Union. This turned out to be a serious mistake. The GDR was on the leading-string of the big brother and became the match ball of Soviet interests. The ambitious aim to build a total of 15 nuclear power plants until 1975 and to thereby remove the brown coal as an energy source burst like a soap bubble. Constant difficulties of delivery and considerable high-class faults of the Soviet components ruined the plan and let the energy supply of the GDR break down several times. Besides, at the beginning, the GDR started from the premise to sell own nuclear power against hard foreign currency to the German Federal Republic (FRG). Reality and wishful thinking could hardly have lain further apart. By the fact that the GDR developed no own reactor technology, she has manoeuvred herself in an energy-political dead end.
A combination of report elements, archive material and re-enactment make this time alive again. Contemporary witnesses and scientists tell on site about their experiences, their life next to the nuclear power plant and about the old loads with which they are confronted even today. At the same time the striving of the GDR to be a nuclear power – in its competition with the West – becomes vivid.

45 mins.


Written and directed by Lutz Pehnert and Mate Spoerl
Director of Photography: Wolfgang Gaube
Edited by Thomas Kleinwächter