Karlsruhe. The Obrigheim nuclear power station shut down operations on May 11, 2005 at 07:58 AM and has now finally been taken off the grid. This was announced by the operator, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, in Karlsruhe.
The nuclear power station had been in commercial operation since April 1969, had safely produced more than 90 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and thereby reliably supplied about 850,000 households a year with electricity. "After using up the agreed residual electricity quantity, a success story that spanned 36 years has now come to an end. That is something we can be proud of. It would not have been possible without highly motivated, excellently trained and responsible staff," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Hartkopf, Chief Technical Officer of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG.
For the country, the region and the town of Obrigheim, the operations of the Obrigheim nuclear power station represented a formative era. "From a technical and an economic point of view, the Obrigheim nuclear power station could have continued operations. To this day, the Obrigheim nuclear power station displays high safety standards even compared to newer German and international nuclear power stations," Hartkopf says. Since the commissioning of the power station, EnBW has spent more than EUR 300 million on plant safety alone. By closing the plant, EnBW is following legal requirements. "We respect the political aim and legally prescribed phase-out of nuclear energy and have done our bit by decommissioning the plant," Hartkopf comments.
Obrigheim is now in the post-closure operating phase. "The process of dismantling the plant will take place until 2007. Over that period of time, the fuel rods used in the reactor cycle must be transferred to on-site intermediate storage and the consumables needed for operation must be disposed of," explains Hartkopf. "After that, the power station will be dismantled, starting sometime after 2021 and possibly completed by 2023."
The end of operating the Obrigheim nuclear power station also marks a change for EnBW towards a different energy and power generation mix. "The safe and reliable supply of electricity to our customers will of course still be ensured after the Obrigheim plant has ceased operations. For that purpose, we have for instance modernized our power station in Altbach/Deizisau with new and more refined turbine blades. Comparable measures have been initiated at the Rheinhafen steam power station in Karlsruhe. In addition, we have decided to reactivate the power station blocks in Marbach and Wahlheim," says Hartkopf.