Karlsruhe.Since last night, Unit II of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant (GKN II) has been back online following annual maintenance. During the past few weeks, testing and maintenance duties were performed and 44 of the 193 fuel elements were replaced.
‘We are very satisfied with the implementation of the maintenance programme,’ sums up Heiko Walch, Head of Unit II. ‘In addition to the routine work, we were also able to successfully conduct the large individual projects and tests. These included a general overhaul of the generator, the hydraulic pressure test and eddy current testing on two of the four steam generators, the general overhaul of one of the three main feed pumps, the inspection of one of the four main coolant pumps, ultrasonic testing of the reactor pressure vessel and the hydraulic pressure test of the primary circuit .’
‘The cooperation between everyone involved went extremely well. This also applies to the at times up to 1,000 employees of manufacturers and specialist companies who supported our team,’ reports Wolfgang Heni, Commercial Manager of the GKN and of EnBW Kernkraft GmbH. ‘In this way, the approximately 5,000 individual duties were performed very well. Through the investments made as part of the maintenance, we are maintaining the safety of the plant at the highest international level,’ adds Wolfgang Heni.
The maintenance work was supervised by the Baden-Württemberg Environment Ministry and was monitored on behalf of the Ministry by assessors of the TÜV, the KeTAG (Kerntechnik-Gutachterarbeitsgemeinschaft Baden-Württemberg) and the MPA (Staatliche Materialprüfungsanstalt, Stuttgart). Once the work had been accepted, the Environment Ministry approved the recommissioning of the plant.
International benchmarking:OSART mission in October
Now that the maintenance has been concluded, all eyes in Neckarwestheim are now on another safety-related project. From 8 to 24 October 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – a sub-organisation of the United Nations (UN) – will dispatch a team made up of international experts to Neckarwestheim on a so-called OSART mission . The experts will perform an in-depth evaluation of the management of the nuclear power plant. OSART missions are deemed to be both the most intensive and most transparent form of evaluation of nuclear power plants. The IAEA publishes the results of its missions and are freely accessible to anyone.
EnBW requested that the IAEA conduct the OSART mission. ‘We are thus demonstrating our desire to have our nuclear power plants measured against international standards,’ explains Dr. Hans-Josef Zimmer, who is both a member of the Board of Management of EnBW Kraftwerke AG and Chairman of the Board of Management of EnBW Kernkraft GmbH. ‘Following the OSART mission in Neckarwestheim, EnBW will be the only nuclear power plant operator in Germany whose production sites have been completely evaluated by the IAEA within just a few years. The OSART mission conducted last year at our Philippsburg site has already proven in an impressive manner that EnBW is a reliable operator of nuclear power plants. By means of the evaluation of the Neckarwestheim site by the independent team of experts, we will once again emphasise this fact.'