In the panorama you can see the nuclear power plant of Fessenheim which is the oldest one in France. It is located in Southern-Alsace on the Grand Canal d´Alsace that runs alongside the river Rhine. Its distance to the French/German border is less than 2 km, the distances to some major cities are: Freiburg – 23 km, Basel – 38 km, Mulhouse – 24 km, Straßbourg – 77 km.
The upper Rhine valley is a seismologically active region. Weak earthquakes do occur regularly—the strongest known one in the region happened in 1356 in Basel and it reached 9 to 10 on the MSK-scale, which is approximately 6.5 on the Richter-scale.
The power plant is located directly above the Upper-Rhine Aquifer that provides groundwater and thus drinking-water for several million of people.
The plant became operational in 1978. Since the plant is that old, it is neither well-equipped against earthquakes, plane crashes (until 1993, two squadrons of F-4 Phantom fighter planes were stationed under 5km away from the plant on Bremgarten Airbase) nor against flooding from the neighbouring Rhine and a melt-down would inevitably contaminate both the aquifer and the entire region.
The atomic age is an era in human history when man believed that there was NO LIMIT to human intellect and that man would eventually be able to govern all of nature. Who should withstand man, who pretended to even have tamed the power of atoms?
Since then we had to learned that such a view of the world is mere hubris. But mankind had to learn it the hard way: Three-Mile-Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, ...
Hopefully we will soon learn a simpler and more humble truth, a truth that was well known to our ancestors: The Christian tradition tells us: "We are only guests on Earth," and the indigenous people of North America teach us that: "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we only borrow it from our children."