Karlsruhe. This morning (1th october 2014) Unit II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (GKN II) has been back online after its inspection. Over the past weeks, testing and maintenance activities were carried out on the power plant, fuel assemblies exchanged, and several technical projects executed. During the inspection, around 1,200 additional employees from manufacturers and specialised companies provided support during the extensive work. The entire team performed around 3,000 individual tasks.
More than 25 years ago, on 3 January 1989 to be precise, Unit II in Neckarwestheim was synchronised with the public grid for the first time. Since then, the facilities have been making a major contribution to grid stability and ensuring a reliable electricity supply in Baden-Württemberg. "After 25 years of operation, safety remains our top priority. With this in mind, we took the occasion of the inspection to invest further in the high safety standard of GKN II", explained Christoph Heil, Technical Director of the Neckarwestheim power plant. "This safety aspiration is equally valid for the post operation phase of our facilities that have already been switched off and are in this phase, as well as for the decommissioning of our nuclear power plants. We have successfully delivered proof of this at the Obrigheim site since the year 2008."
Successful implementation of the inspection program
"We are very satisfied with the course of this year's inspection. All tasks envisaged were smoothly implemented, and the cooperation between our own employees and the employees from external specialist firms worked very well", reported Gerd-Josef Engel, head of Unit II. "Alongside numerous routine tasks, we mainly carried out activities that are only possible when the facilities are shut down. This included, for instance, the thorough overhauling of one of the four reactor coolant pumps. Eddy current testing was performed on two of the four steam generators, with one of the steam generators subject to internal checking. We also inspected the two low-pressure turbines."
The inspection was conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector of Baden-Württemberg and, at the Ministry's behest, was accompanied by experts from TÜV (German Technical Inspectorate) and KeTAG (Kerntechnik-Gutachterarbeitsgemeinschaft Baden-Württemberg). Following acceptance of the work, the Ministry gave its approval for the facilities to be restarted.
Unit II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant is a pressurised water reactor with electric output of 1,400 megawatts. The plant was commissioned in 1989, and produced around eleven billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2013.
Unit II is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK stands for safety in the operation and post-operation, as well as in the decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear power plants in Baden-Württemberg. In Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg, EnKK generates electricity with one nuclear power plant respectively (GKN II and KKP 2). A further plant which no longer produces electricity is located at each of the two sites (GKN I and KKP 1). EnKK is currently in the process of preparing the decommissioning of these plants that have been shut down and has submitted the first applications for this purpose. At the Obrigheim site, the dismantling of the nuclear power plant located there, which commenced in 2008, is making good progress.