Confusion over the Kjeller Incident

On 12 September, the environmental organization Bellona reported on their website that “The Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) experienced a leak on Saturday in a pump used in conjunction with the recombination circuit at the Kjeller reactor outside of Oslo, resulting in a small release of radioactivity into the environment for about 15 minutes, IFE officials acknowledged over the weekend.”
When an English friend told me about this, I was very confused. “But Norway doesn’t have any nuclear power stations,” I said. “It’s all hydro-electricity here.”
He then pointed out that there was a large golfball-like object outside the city, and it was from there that the radioactivity was released!

I looked up Norway’s nuclear energy policy on Wikipedia, where it stated clearly that no nuclear plant has ever been established in Norway.
Then on 22 September there was a story on, reporting that “Plans have been presented for the building of Norway’s first two nuclear power plants. ”
The Norwegian ministry of energy has a web page, and when I searched under the word “nuclear” I got “no documents found”!
Eventually, after various conspiracy theories went through my mind, I found out that Kjeller is not a nuclear power station, but a research reactor.
The Institute for Energy Technology states on its website that the “Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) is the research institute for energy and nuclear technology in Norway. IFE’s nuclear technology comprises all activities that are related to the Institute’s two research reactors, in Halden and at Kjeller.”
Researching what? Well, as regards nuclear technology, the site states: “The bulk of the Nuclear technology activities are related to the JEEP II research reactor at Kjeller, a national laboratory for basic and applied research. Basic research in irradiation technology and the production of radioactive isotopes for medical purposes all rely on neutron beams from JEEP II.”
And I don’t need to explain anything else as you all know what neutron beams are. Rest easy, Norway!

Barry Kavanagh writes fiction, and has made music, formerly with Dacianos.

Contact him here.