Karlsruhe. Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (GKN II) is being disconnected from the grid today (Friday, 2 September 2016) as planned. During the inspection, testing and maintenance work will be completed, fuel elements replaced and a number of technical projects implemented.
“We are once again investing in the high level of safety of Block II in Neckarwestheim with this inspection. The extensive tests and numerous inspection and maintenance activities carried out during the inspection will ensure that the power plant is kept completely up-to-date from a technological standpoint. This is also true for Block 2 in Philippsburg that is still generating electricity,” explained Christoph Heil, Managing Director of EnBW Kernkraft GmbH responsible for power plant operations. “At the same time, we now already have our sights firmly set on the dismantling of GKN II and KKP 2. We submitted the applications for the decommissioning and dismantling of both power plants early in July 2016 so that we can start the dismantling work promptly after they have been shut down. In the case of the Neckarwestheim I and Philippsburg 1 blocks that have already been shut down, we still expect to receive approvals for the dismantling work during the second half of 2016. The planning and implementation in this area benefits from our experience gained during the dismantling of the Obrigheim power plant. The dismantling of the reactor pressure vessel – the former heart of the power plant – was recently completed at the site.”
Around 900 additional employees support the extensive inspection work
“This year’s inspection programme includes around 3,000 individual activities, most of which can only be performed when the plant has been shut down.” reports Harald Poppe, Head of the GKN II power plant. “Alongside annual routine work, the planned tasks also include maintenance measures on large-scale components. For example, the feed water tanks will be given an internal test and a pressure test. One of the three feed water pumps and the safety valves on the primary circuit will be given a general overhaul. The plans also include work on one of the four main coolant pumps. In addition, three transformers will be replaced in one of the four redundancies for the electricity supply. Around 900 additional experts from manufacturing and specialist companies will support the inspection team at GKN with the extensive inspection work.
The inspection work will take place under the supervision of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Industry and will be accompanied by auditors from TÜV and KeTAG (Baden-Württemberg Auditors Consortium for Nuclear Technology) appointed by the ministry.
Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant is a pressurised water reactor with an electrical output of 1,400 megawatts. The power plant was commissioned in 1989 and generated around eleven billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2015.
Block II is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK stands for safety in the operation and post operation, as well as the decommissioning and dismantling of the nuclear power plants in Baden-Württemberg. In Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg, EnKK generates electricity with one nuclear power plant at each location (GKN II and KKP 2). Power operation at KKP 2 will cease at the latest at the end of 2019 and at GKN II at the latest at the end of 2022. The dismantling of these power plants is then set to commence quickly. The required applications were submitted early by EnBW in July 2016. A further power plant that no longer produces electricity is located at each of the sites (GKN I and KKP 1). The first approvals for the decommissioning and dismantling applications submitted by EnBW for these deactivated blocks are expected in the second half of 2016. Once received, the dismantling of GKN I and KKP 1 can begin. Good progress has been made with the dismantling of the nuclear power plant at the Obrigheim location since 2008.