Neckarwestheim, Germany. In autumn 2007, IAEA experts carried out an evaluation of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant (GKN) lasting several weeks. The focus of their evaluation was the standard of management at the nuclear power plant. The IAEA has now brought this ‘OSART mission’ to an end as scheduled after a follow-up lasting barely a week. Between 11 and 14 May 2009, a team of four experts will concentrate on checking how GKN has responded to the recommendations made by the IAEA in 2007. The experts are from Slovakia, the UK, Belgium and Sweden.
Excellent results from the first visit in 2007
Even after their first visit, the IAEA had made positive comments about the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant. Head of the OSART programme, Miroslav Lipar, said that, according to international standards, Neckarwestheim was a very good plant that presented many characteristics of a strong safety culture. On top of that, GKN deployed practices that other nuclear plants around the world should emulate. Overall, Neckarwestheim had achieved one of the best results in the 25-year history of OSART missions. With reference to Block I in Neckarwestheim, Miroslav Lipar said that this plant could go on operating in line with international standards for 60 years.
“After receiving such great feedback from the IAEA one and half years ago, we now want to achieve an outstanding result at the conclusion of the OSART mission,” says Michael Wenk, Chairman of the EnBW Kernkraft GmbH Board and member of the EnBW Kraftwerke AG Board of Directors. “We have a fresh opportunity to demonstrate the quality of the workforce, the plant management and the safety culture at Neckarwestheim and to document our potential for future development. I know that the employees at Neckarwestheim have made good use of their time since autumn 2007 and have worked hard to put the IAEA recommendations into practice. I am optimistic that this will have a positive effect on the international experts’ evaluation.”
Part of the overall qualitative evaluation of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant
The results of the OSART mission are a vital part of the overall qualitative evaluation of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant. Other inspections have shown that both Blocks at Neckarwestheim – like the plants at Philippsburg – meet all the safety requirements applicable in Germany without exception. Its safety standards even exceed those required by the IAEA for new plants. EnBW Kernkraft GmbH also operates a management system across all sites that is certified in accordance with international standards and covers nuclear safety, quality assurance, environment protection and health and safety at work.
OSART: Most intensive and transparent way of evaluating nuclear power plants
OSART missions are a service provided by the IAEA and are considered to be the most intensive and transparent way of evaluating nuclear power plants. Together they promote the principle of continual improvement, which has been practised by the EnBW nuclear power plants from the very beginning. OSART stands for Operational Safety Review Team. This team is made up of IAEA experts who possess extensive experience of managing nuclear power plants all over the world. As a team, they check whether the management of a nuclear power plant conforms with international standards.
The IAEA is an independent, scientific and technical United Nations organisation (UNO). Member states such as Germany have the opportunity of applying for IAEA OSART missions. At EnBW’s request, the German government applied for this for the Neckarwestheim site. EnBW is the only operator of nuclear power plants in Germany which has had its production sites completely evaluated by the IAEA within just a few years.
EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK)
The Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK also operates the Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant and the Obrigheim Nuclear Power Plant that is now being shut down. These production plants make the name EnKK synonymous with reliable, economical and environmentally friendly power generation for Baden-Württemberg. In 2008, the nuclear power plants at Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg together generated over 33 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. This is more than half the total power requirement of Baden-Württemberg. In the same period, the plants saved the environment over 32 million metric tons of environmentally damaging carbon dioxide (CO2). EnKK employs around 1,800 people, about 800 of them in Neckarwestheim. EnBW Kraftwerke AG is the principal shareholder.