Karlsruhe. The operator of EnBW's nuclear power stations, EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK), has passed a strategy for decommissioning the stations and has decided on immediate decommissioning of power stations in Neckarwestheim (GKN) and Philippsburg (KKP). "We are taking note of our responsibility and not putting the issue of decommissioning work off any longer. With direct decommissioning, we are achieving clarity for the public, employees and our business partners" explains Jörg Michels, Chairman of EnKK. "Both safety-related and economical aspects support immediate decommissioning in our view and therefore against the so-called safe inclusion."
Blocks GKN I and KKP 1 were switched off last year. They thereby find themselves in so-called post-processing. The decommissioning work is prepared in this phase, which can last several years. Blocks GKN II and KKP 2 will continue generating electricity until the year 2022 and 2019 respectively.
Over the past months, EnKK has carried out an intensive analysis of the economic and social environment. External factors such as assumptions about the approval process or the availability of final disposal sites were considered. On the basis of this information, a team of experts has developed specifications for the general procedure for decommissioning, the required approvals and handling residual materials and waste. "The decommissioning strategy covers all of our blocks. The general overall concept for all sites represents the solid basis for the following detailed planning and use of synergies in the coming decades," explains Jörg Michels.
Responsibility for overall planning of decommissioning, developing the necessary approval documents and management of the special companies required lies with EnKK. "We have the core expertise thanks to decades of operation. During the decommissioning in Obrigheim, we have also built up the necessary engineering-related knowledge, experience in multi project management and special knowledge in the approval procedure, logistics or the flow of residual materials", explains Jörg Michels.
"Our facilities, including the ones that have been shut down, are still subject to the Atomic Energy Act. You can't simply shut them down and dismantle them", emphasises Jörg Michels. The corresponding approvals from the atomic approval authority, the Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy Management in Baden-Württemberg, are required for the individual shutdown and dismantling stages.
The application documents for the first necessary atomic approvals are now being issued on the basis of the specified overall concept. In these approval applications, the overall decommissioning project for the respective block is illustrated in detail for one. Secondly, the planned method in the respective initial removal phase is explained in more depth. The issue of applications for the first shutdown and dismantling approvals for GKN I and KKP 1 will take around two years. Parallel to this the necessary administration procedures, such as initial investigations for environmental compatibility reviews, are initiated.
The preparation of corresponding documents for the subsequent dismantling stages as well as for blocks GKN II and KKP 2 will take place successively in the coming years. The decommissioning work can only start after issue of the corresponding approval by the atomic approval authority.
Residual materials and disposal strategy
Both radioactive and non-radioactive residual materials and waste are produced during shut down and dismantling. This needs to be processed and treated and temporarily stored up until delivery to a final disposal site. Analyses have been carried out over the past months for handling these materials as well as the disposal of residual materials and waste. The necessary steps to create the required facilities can now be taken on the basis of this information. The aim of EnKK is, just like during operation of the facilities, to avoid radioactive residual materials and reduce radioactive waste.
Nuclear power station operators are legally obliged to cover the financial costs of decommissioning their facilities. EnBW has met this obligation and accrued reserves during operation. These cover the corresponding costs for decommissioning as well as disposal of fuel elements and operational waste through to final disposal. The amount of reserves is determined on the basis of reports by internationally renowned, independent experts. Furthermore, EnBW gives an account in its annual business report.
EnKK will continually inform the public about further development and the fundamental procedure stages during the course of the application for the individual approvals.