Karlsruhe. Block I of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Station (GKN I) was taken offline last weekend for its scheduled annual inspection. Test and maintenance work will be undertaken on the plant and several technical projects realised during the inspection.
"Once again, we are investing tens of millions in the high technical level of our plant. In view of the energy concept announced for the autumn by the Federal Government, we assume that GKN 1 will have additional prospects for the future," explains Jörg Michels, Technical Director of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station. "The Federal Government has already announced it is making term extensions dependent on strict German and international safety standards. Block I is ideally prepared for this. The plant not only satisfies the safety-technical requirements applicable in Germany, but also the standards required for new plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In addition, last year the IAEA concluded, after an intensive audit, that Block I is a very good plant measured against international standards and could be operated for a total of 60 years."
Experts from GKN and around 1,000 additional specialists have a full programme.
"Apart from the routinely scheduled work, the programme includes several individual projects," reports Helmut Scherla, Head of Block I. "For example, the general overhaul of one of the three main coolant pumps is very work-intensive. The large projects also include testing the seals of the reactor containment shell, ultrasonic checks of all three steam generators and an internal inspection of a steam generator, optimising pipeline brackets and maintenance and modernisation work in the area of emergency power supply. Various pumps, including a main feed pump, an auxiliary cold water pump and a cooling tower pump, are also to be overhauled." Overall, the inspection programme comprises around 3,600 separate activities, and the nuclear power station experts will be supported by around 1,000 extra staff from manufacturing and specialist companies.
The inspection work is being monitored by the Baden-Württemberg Environmental Ministry and is accompanied by experts from TÜV and KeTAG (Kerntechnik-Gutachterarbeitsgemeinschaft Baden-Württemberg).
Block 1 of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Station is a pressurised water reactor with an electrical output of 840 megawatts. The plant was commissioned in 1976 and in 2009 is generated around four and a half billion kilowatt hours.
Block I is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK operates the nuclear power stations in Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg, as well as the nuclear power station currently being decommissioned in Obrigheim. The sites at Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg generate around half of the electricity required by Baden-Württemberg.