Karlsruhe. On Thursday evening (May 8, 2008) Unit I of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant (GKN I) was taken online again after completion of the first phase of its scheduled annual maintenance, for which the plant was taken offline. In the past nine days inspection and maintenance work was carried out, fuel elements were replaced and an inspection of the three-phase generator in the non-nuclear section of the plant was conducted.
The second part of the annual maintenance will take place in fall, during which comprehensive maintenance work will be performed on the three-phase generator, as the largest individual project. The duration of the maintenance work on the generator would have been very difficult to fit into the maintenance timetable of EnBW Kraftwerke in spring, so that the plant operator, EnBW Kernkraft GmbH, opted for the two-part annual maintenance in consultation with regulatory authorities.
“We are highly satisfied with the progress of the first phase of annual maintenance”, reports Helmut Scherla, Unit I’s director. “By organizing maintenance in two phases we were able to conduct all necessary inspection and maintenance work and the fuel element replacement successfully. Collaboration between our maintenance team and the 150 or so staff from the manufacturing and specialist companies was extremely smooth.” With respect to the future, Helmut Scherla continues, “Unit I has now resumed safe, reliable and climate-friendly power generation and we are preparing for the second phase of maintenance in the fall.”
The maintenance work took place under the supervision of the Umweltministerium Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment) and was overseen by assessors by order of the Ministry. After final acceptance of the maintenance work, the Ministry gave its approval for the plant to resume operation.
Unit I of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant is a pressurized water reactor with a capacity of 840 megawatts. The plant has been in operation since 1976 and produced over five billion kilowatt hours of power in 2007.