Karlsruhe. The Chairman of the Board of Management of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, Gerhard Goll, described the latest comments made by Rainer Baake, the State Secretary in the German Ministry of the Environment, on the safety situation at the Obrigheim nuclear power station (KWO) as "an obviously staged campaign".
"Safety takes absolute top priority at nuclear power stations. I also see this statement as a personal commitment. This is why, while it may certainly be ingenious, it would be extremely misguided to instrumentalise this important issue for other purposes. My impression is that this is exactly what could be happening at the current time", said Goll.
Goll backed up these comments by saying: "It is conspicuous that the German Ministry of the Environment has decided to turn its attention to an event 11 months after this event was dealt with without any immediate response in the Reactor Safety Commission – and at the very point in time when a decision is to be taken on our application to transfer electricity volumes to Obrigheim. The Ministry of the Environment, who wants to prevent the transfer, has known since April that the decision was to be taken in October. I cannot believe that it is pure coincidence that an independent expert who liaises closely with the staff at the Ministry has completed his report at exactly this point in time – particularly in view of the fact that the issue is a simple one and it is hard to explain why it took 11 months to finish the report. All the more so when we remember that we are ostensibly talking about safety."
Goll continued: "We have not seen the expert report, as it has been withheld from us to date. According to the documents of which I have knowledge, it is certainly true that there used to be an implausible provision in the regulations of the KWO plant; however, this problem was discovered during talks in the Reactor Safety Commission last year and has meanwhile been resolved. However, independent experts have determined that the past operational practices at the KWO ‘were admissible in accordance with the operating manual and that the water available for safety feed at all times exceeded the water inventory as restricted by the level limits.’ "
"The question I ask myself is why have I still not been informed by the Ministry of the Environment if the matter is really as dramatic as has been suggested. The Ministry is well aware that I am never willing to compromise on matters of safety."
"From everything I know now, I would say that the supposed safety problems have been contrived and do not stand up to objective scrutiny. This certainly applies to the current situation that forms the basis for assessment of the safety aspects at the Obrigheim nuclear power station", said Goll. "My suggestion is that we continue to follow up on this matter in a calm and collected manner, as we have done during the last 11 months. At the end of this process, we will then be able to make a truly realistic assessment of past events."