Rjukan

Rjukan (Norwegian: [ˈrʉ̀ːkɑn]) is a town in Tinn Municipality in Telemark county, Norway. The town is also the administrative centre of Tinn Municipality. The town is located in the Vestfjorddalen valley, between the lakes Møsvatn and Tinnsjå. The municipal council of Tinn declared town status for Rjukan in 1996. The town is located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the west of the village of Miland and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the northwest of the village of Tuddal (in Hjartdal Municipality).

The 2.59-square-kilometre (640-acre) town has a population (2021) of 3,003 and a population density of 1,160 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,000/sq mi).

The town was essentially "built from scratch" due to the industrial developments by Norsk Hydro in the 1910s and 1920s. It got its name from the Rjukan Falls west of the town. At its peak, Rjukan was a significant industrial center in Telemark. It became a World Heritag...Read more

Rjukan (Norwegian: [ˈrʉ̀ːkɑn]) is a town in Tinn Municipality in Telemark county, Norway. The town is also the administrative centre of Tinn Municipality. The town is located in the Vestfjorddalen valley, between the lakes Møsvatn and Tinnsjå. The municipal council of Tinn declared town status for Rjukan in 1996. The town is located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the west of the village of Miland and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the northwest of the village of Tuddal (in Hjartdal Municipality).

The 2.59-square-kilometre (640-acre) town has a population (2021) of 3,003 and a population density of 1,160 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,000/sq mi).

The town was essentially "built from scratch" due to the industrial developments by Norsk Hydro in the 1910s and 1920s. It got its name from the Rjukan Falls west of the town. At its peak, Rjukan was a significant industrial center in Telemark. It became a World Heritage Site under the name Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site on 5 July 2015. The town is perhaps best known for the heavy water sabotage operations at the local Vemork hydroelectric power plant during World War II.

Rjukan does not get any sunlight between September and March because the low sun is blocked by the tall Gaustatoppen mountain located directly to the south. In 2013, at a cost of 5 million kr, an art project called the Sunmirror in Rjukan built several large mirrors on the northern mountainside above the town to reflect the Sun down into the town during these dark months. The mirrors illuminate a small portion of the town square each day.

 Statue of Sam Eyde, one of the founders of Norsk Hydro and Rjukan.

In 1906, the area which would become Rjukan consisted of only a few farmsteads, then called Saaheim, when Norsk Hydro began planning saltpeter (fertilizer) production in the area using the newly developed Birkeland–Eyde process.[1][2] Rjukan was chosen because the Rjukan Falls, with a 104-metre (341 ft) longest single fall, provided easy means of generating the large amounts of electricity that was required.

The Vemork hydroelectric power plant was built between 1907 and 1911, and was at the time the world's largest hydroelectric power plant. A similar power plant was finished in Såheim in 1915. The power plants had a combined cost of more than 200 million kr, the equivalent of two annual national budgets at the time.[3] With the factories, many houses for the factory workers also had to be built, in addition to a train station and a town hall. The town formally changed its name to Rjukan, and in 1920 reached a population of 8,350.[1]

In 1934, Norsk Hydro built a hydrogen plant next to the Vemork power plant. A by-product of hydrogen production via water electrolysis was heavy water. It was the later Nobel prize winner Odd Hassel who told Norsk Hydro that they were in fact in possession of the only regular heavy water production in Europe. At the time heavy water was believed to be a necessary component of an atomic bomb. When Norway came under German occupation during World War II, destroying this production became an important priority to the Allies. The facilities were sabotaged twice by the Norwegian resistance movement and bombed by allied forces.[4]

After 1960, most of Norsk Hydro's saltpeter production in Rjukan was transferred to factories at Herøya in Porsgrunn.

^ a b Cite error: The named reference snl was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Pedersen, Bjørn (12 January 2023), "Birkeland-Eydes metode", Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian), retrieved 22 July 2023 ^ Brekke, Pål (13 January 2022). Historien om Kristian Birkeland (in Norwegian). Solarmax. pp. 56–60. ISBN 9788269131956. ^ Kraglund, Ivar; Kjølås, Harald; Allkunne; Færøy, Frode (25 January 2023), "tungtvannsaksjonene", Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian), retrieved 22 July 2023
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