Karlsruhe. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today gave its report in Karlsruhe today on the outcome of the OSART mission to Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant (GKN) operated by EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG. At the end of the assessment, made by reviewing the plants in stages in 2007 and 2009, the independent experts concluded that GKN is an excellent plant by international standards, displaying many features of a strong safety culture. The way the plants worked on IAEA input was outstanding and one of the best worldwide. GKN was able to achieve similarly good results to Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant (KKP), which was reviewed by the IAEA in 2004 and 2006. The IAEA praised EnBW for its positive action in always implementing improvements at both of its two nuclear power generating sites. Knowledge gained from the OSART missions to either Philippsburg or Neckarwestheim was also taken into consideration in the respective other plant.
Standard of operational safety is among the highest worldwide.
“Our OSART-Team reviewing Neckarwestheim NPP in 2007 consisted of experts from eleven countries and represented an collective experience in the nuclear industry of more than 280 years” explained Miroslav Lipar, Head of the Operational Safety Section of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. “The Team considers the standard of operational safety practices of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant to be one of the highest worldwide. During our regular follow-up visit in May 2009 we were able to establish that the way in which the plant had addressed our issues from 2007 was over and above the expectations of the internationally accepted nuclear safety standards. Eight of the ten issues pointed out were resolved, and we were able to find satisfactory progress had been made on the remaining two. This is an excellent result which is at the top end of follow ups conducted in the industry. These results are evidence of full commitment by management and staff to nuclear safety as GKN's top priority. In addition, management portrays an exemplary attitude addressing the findings from the OSART missions. Lessons learnt from the previous OSART mission to Philippsburg NPP led to improvements in both plants. And management ensured that following our mission to Neckarwestheim NPP in 2007 improvements will be implemented to EnBW’s entire fleet of nuclear power stations. Altogether, EnBW shows a high degree of commitment and leadership in the management of safety and safety culture. “
Philippsburg and Neckarwestheim: looking for the challenge and rising to it.
EnBW wanted its Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg sites to be assessed against the highest international standards by an impartial and independent institution, making sure that the results are made known with full frankness and transparency. The IAEA's OSART missions are the best way of doing just this. At the same time, they encourage the principle of continuous improvement which has been practised by EnBW all along. The IAEA is an autonomous, science and engineering based organisation of the United Nations (UN). Member states like Germany can apply to IAEA and request OSART missions. The German government applied to the IAEA on behalf and at the request of EnBW to conduct missions to both Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg nuclear power stations.
Jörg Michels, Technical Director of Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Station: “We were deeply impressed by the international experts' critical and highly professional work. We are delighted that the excellent results of the previous review at our Philippsburg NPP could be repeated at the Neckarwestheim site. We see this as an affirmation of our principle of continuous improvement. Our high level of investment into the skill and experience of our workforce, into the engineering side of our plants and into the way we organise our processes are all reflected in the high level of safety observed by the IAEA altogether. We intend to continue along this road with determination. What is more, we will continue to take an active part in the international exchange of experience."
EnBW stands for top priority in nuclear safety - nuclear power represents an energy mix fit for the future.
Dr. Hans-Josef Zimmer, Technical Director at EnBW: "This excellent outcome is at the same time reaffirmation and motivation to us. It confirms that with its nuclear power plants EnBW guarantees safe and climate-friendly electricity production with sophisticated engineering standards; and it motivates us to fortify our determination to carry forward our work to achieve a consistently high standard of safety culture and be a good advertisement for nuclear power.”
“EnBW as a company stands for high safety culture standards and nuclear power represents a secure source of energy supply that is fit to meet the challenges of the future. Nuclear power is indispensible for an independent, ecologically sound and economical power supply”, said Dr. Zimmer.
Nuclear power and renewables are partners in a system of climate-friendly electricity supply
With a view to the expansion of renewable energy Dr. Zimmer continued: “The operation of nuclear power plants and the expansion of renewable energy are an excellent match. The best proof of this is EnBW itself. As an operator of nuclear power plants, we are planning to invest over three billion Euros into the expansion of renewable energy alone in the future. For us, nuclear power and renewables form a partnership in a system of energy supply that protects the climate. Granted, it is sometimes claimed that the two are at odds with each other, but this merely contrived."
“It is our intention to contribute to calming the current debate and making it more objective by way of disseminating this information about the results of the IAEA's final report and the independent experts’ conclusion that our nuclear power plants are very good, indeed, according to international standards." said Dr. Zimmer in conclusion.