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The year 1978
After the referendum
An emotional conflict: the ground-breaking ceremony of the construction project “Nuclear Power Plant Zwentendorf” took place on 4 April 1972. It took four year to complete the boiling water reactor with a capacity of about 732 MW. Starting in 1975, however, Zwentendorf was confronted with a growing counter movement. Protests against the nuclear power plant increased. Instead of splitting atoms, Zwentendorf divided both parties and opinions.

People from all political parties and ideological backgrounds participated in the protests – the emotional conflict had begun. On the one side the country’s nuclear opponents, on the other side all those in power: the SPÖ government under Bruno Kreisky as well as the trade union, industry and the chamber of commerce. Expecting a positive outcome, then Austrian Federal Chancellor Kreisky decided to authorise a national referendum to provide a public mandate for commencing the operation of the power plant. The plan backfired, though.