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5.4: About One Famous Hydropower Plant Using Pelton Turbines

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    In Fig. \(\PageIndex{1}\) you can see a photo of at real plant, which is perhaps the most famous of all Pelton-type installations in the world. Its located in Rjukan, Norway, in a narrow valley. During World War II, when Norway got under Nazi occupation, the occupants started using the electric power generated in the plant for extracting the so-called “heavy water” from ordinary water. In heavy water, normal hydrogen is replaced by its heavier isotope, Deuterium. In ordinary water, there is roughly one Deuterium atom per 5500 atoms of normal hydrogen. The process of extracting D2O from ordinary water, H2O, consumed much electric power. However, D2O was crucial for the Nazi efforts of building an atomic bomb. The Allies tried more than once to destroy the plant from the air, but, because of its location in a narrow valley – or, a canyon rather – it was impossible to hit it with bombs. Finally, the plant was twice sabotaged by a British commando teams who parachute-landed in nearby mountain area. This authentic story was used in 1965 for making a movie “The Heroes of Telemark” in which one of the commandos was played by a famous American actor, Kirk Douglas (“Telemark” is the name of a mountain area in Norway, where Rjukan is located).

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Perhaps the most famous hydroelectric power plant in the world using the Pelton turbine technology: in Rjukan, Norway, located in a narrow canyon. Water is brought down from a high altitude by ten parallel penstocks seen in the upper left corner of the photograph (contemporary view; source: Wikimedia Commons).

    5.4: About One Famous Hydropower Plant Using Pelton Turbines is shared under a CC BY 1.3 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Tom Giebultowicz.

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