Karlsruhe. As scheduled, unit 1 of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (GKN I) was taken offline for annual maintenance last weekend. In the coming weeks inspections and maintenance work will be carried out whereby 44 of the 177 fuel elements are going to be replaced.
“The bulk of the maintenance work will consist of routine activities“, says Helmut Scherla, unit 1 director. “The larger individual projects include the eddy current inspection of the heating tubes in two of the three steam generators and a leak test of the reactor containment shell. In addition, we will carry out testing work on the core barrel and put into operation a new, digital protective system for the rotary current generator and the associated transformer.”
The commercial manager of the GKN, Wolfgang Heni, emphasizes the larger significance of the maintenance: „In our 30th year of operation we are spending another eight-figure sum to continue the reliable power generation of unit 1. A major share of these investments will also benefit the local economy and its employees.” The large and continuous investments into the reliability of the plant conform to EnBW’s philosophy to constantly keep pace with the current technical state of the art. GKN 1 will continue to meet the safety-related requirements in the future reliably producing electricity for many years to come. Some 1,200 manufacturing and specialized company personnel will be on hand to support the GKN maintenance team. The entire team has about 5,000 individual tasks to perform.
The maintenance will be accompanied by the Technical Inspection Authority (TÜV) acting as a consultant for the Baden-Wuerttemberg ministry of the environment, the KeTAG (Baden-Wuerttemberg Nuclear Power Consultant Consortium) and the MPA (State Material Research Laboratory, Stuttgart). Following the official acceptance of the maintenance, the Baden-Wuerttemberg ministry of the environment will approve the renewed start-up procedure.
Unit 1 of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant is a pressurized water reactor with a capacity of 840 Mwe. The plant was commissioned in 1976 producing just under 6.5 billion-kilowatt hours of electricity in 2005.