Skip to main content

Your Next Nuclear Vacation

610x The best takedown of the Swiss we know - because why would anyone want to take down the Swiss, after all? - comes from Orson Welles in The Third Man:

Don't be so gloomy. After all, it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

Cuckoo clocks and now a way to recycle remnants of the cold war into something unique and just a little bizarre. Here's the complete writeup from World Nuclear News, which they took from Der Spiegel.

The world's first "zero-rated" hotel - a former underground nuclear bunker - is set to open in Sevelen, Switzerland. The abandoned bunker has been transformed into a budget hotel by twin brothers Patrik and Frank Riklin with the motto "less is more": it has not been painted, the beds are from a nearby condemned hospital and hot water is not guaranteed - but what would you expect for just $9 to $13 per night?

Patrik insists that the hotel's stark Cold War atmosphere is "damned comfortable." A monitor within the bunker gives guests in the windowless hotel their only view of the outside world.

One condition from the Swiss military is that the bunker be ready at all times to revert back to its original function within 24 hours.

A group of guests gave the 54-bedded hotel a trial run last week. The hotel can only start commercial operation if given approval by the town in November. However, the Riklin brothers are already setting their sights on setting up a chain of such hotels. "People could hike from bunker to bunker," Patrick said. "Bunkers will definitely go down well with Japanese tour groups," he added.

Clearly a good locale for your next horror film featuring a twitchy desk clerk who hasn't left the bunker in 40 years and the mewling protoplasmic ick in room 666 that he calls Mother.

To quote a minor character in the Third Man who struggles with his English, "He is now [points up] in hell, or [points down] in heaven."

Sounds like heaven.

Picture of the bunker hotel form the AP. Well, at least the room - er, space - looks big, not that common in Europe.

While Graham Greene wrote the screenplay for The Third Man, it's been acknowledged that Orson Welles wrote the Cuckoo Clock speech himself - remember, though, that Welles is playing the villain, Harry Lime, so we may assume he meant the speech to be Lime's cheerful cynicism, not a reflection of Welles' own feelings.

Comments

Brian Mays said…
Actually, it sounds downright cozy after some of the places that I've stayed in Europe.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…