Philippsburg. There are no more fuel assemblies in either two power plant units at the Philippsburg nuclear power plant. Following Unit 1, which already achieved this status in 2016, the same step was completed today (6 April 2023) at Unit 2. Both plants ceased producing electricity some time ago and are in the process of being dismantled. All fuel assemblies have been safely stored in dedicated transport and storage containers (Castor casks) at BZP, the Philippsburg interim fuel storage facility operated since 2019 by state-owned BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH.
The status reached today was the outcome of a year-long loading and transport campaign, which began in March 2022. During this period, a total of 734 spent fuel assemblies previously used for electricity generation and still present in Unit 2 were gradually transferred to 40 transport and storage casks and carried to the state interim storage facility located on the same site. The entire process of loading and transporting the casks was closely monitored by the responsible regulatory authority – the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment – and officially commissioned independent experts.
Unit 2: Disassembly of reactor pressure vessel internals can begin
Unit 2 in Philippsburg ceased producing electricity at the end of 2019. EnBW began dismantling the plant in 2020 and has already completed several stages of the process. With the fuel assemblies removed, the next step is the disassembly of the reactor pressure vessel, which was the core of the plant during its operation. In the next few months, the reactor pressure vessel internals will be dismantled and disassembled underwater. The completion of this work is a crucial step towards the central dismantling process, which includes the removal of the reactor pressure vessel and other major components.
No more fuel assemblies in Unit 1 since 2016
Philippsburg Unit 1 ceased producing electricity in 2011 and it was cleared of all fuel assemblies by 2016. At that time, these were likewise transferred to transport and storage casks and moved to the interim fuel assembly storage facility. Dismantling of Unit 1 commenced in 2017. The current focus there is on disassembling the reactor pressure vessel. In the plant’s turbine hall, the generator and most parts of the turbines and condenser have already been dismantled.
Overall, EnBW expects that the dismantling of the two power plant units at Philippsburg in accordance with atomic energy law will take ten to 15 years.