Philippsburg. EnBW successfully completed the demolition of both cooling towers at the Philippsburg nuclear power plant site today (Thursday, 14 May 2020). The demolition process was initiated by the detonation of several charges in the lower sections of the towers. As a result, the cooling tower for the first nuclear power plant block collapsed in on itself as planned at 6:05 a.m. and the cooling tower for the second block followed just a few seconds later. As intended, both towers collapsed to the ground in-situ. The demolition proceeded safely at all times.
To avoid spectators gathering to watch the event in light of government regulations with respect to coronavirus, EnBW was not able to reveal the precise date of the explosive demolition in advance.
Safe and proven demolition method – comprehensive expertise and supervision
The explosive demolition was managed using extensive expertise and was supervised by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment and by independent experts commissioned by the Ministry. The controlled blasting process used today has already been successfully practised more than fifty times in Germany for the demolition of cooling towers. The specialist support brought in by EnBW went far beyond the standards normally required for blasting work. Several blasting experts with years of experience worked on the project, providing each other with mutual advice and guidance.
“We are very pleased with how the entire process went from a technical perspective. Due to our comprehensive planning and preparation, we were able to ensure that the explosive demolition went ahead safely and responsibly”, explains Jörg Michels, Head of the EnBW Nuclear Power Division. “I would like to thank all of those involved for the successful and smooth execution of the project. And I also want to thank the police, the neighbouring communities and districts and the numerous authorities involved in the project for their constructive cooperation.”
Demolition of the cooling towers makes an important contribution to the Energiewende
EnBW has achieved an important milestone for the future security of supply in the south of Germany with the demolition of the cooling towers. TransnetBW GmbH will now construct a direct current substation (also known as a converter) on the former site of the cooling towers. This converter will act as an important hub in the transmission grid for utilising renewable energies that will be transmitted from the north to the south of Germany.
Before the site can ultimately be handed over to TransnetBW, residual work must still be completed and is expected to last until the beginning of next year. This work will also include examining the demolished materials from the cooling towers to see if they are suitable to remain on site. EnBW expects that the material can be used for the necessary earth filling work in the area of the converter construction site.
Different approach to spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic
“There was no doubt originally that we would announce the date of the demolition in advance and allow interested citizens in the region to come and watch the cooling towers collapse. However, the coronavirus pandemic and the associated government regulations then forced us to completely change our approach”, explains Jörg Michels. “It was not an easy decision but after weighing up all of the aspects, it was clear that the Energiewende and health protection must have priority. We then decided in cooperation with the police, the Ministry for the Environment and the neighbouring communities and districts that we would not announce the precise date and time of the demolition in advance. Now that the demolition work has been completed, I please ask once again for everybody’s understanding for our approach.”
Photos and video of the demolition are freely available online
EnBW ensured that there was comprehensive coverage of the demolition of the cooling towers today in the form of photos and videos and will make them freely available to the public. The material is being published on the project website www.enbw.com/kuehltuerme. The first photos and video sequences will already be available shortly after the demolition. Further information will then be gradually added. In addition, the website provides lots of other information about the project for visitors to read.