Karlsruhe. Block II of the Neckarwestheim (GKN II) has been back on the grid since this night (10th September 2009) after the annual revision. Test and maintenance work has been carried out in the past two weeks, technical projects have been implemented and 48 of the 193 fuel assemblies have been exchanged. During the work, approximately 1100 additional employees from manufacturing and special companies supported the GKN revision team. The whole team completed more than 3000 individual tasks.
The commercial operation of Block II celebrated its 20th anniversary in April of this year. “Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station stands for safe, reliable and environmentally-friendly electricity production in the same way as Block I. The pressurised water reactor has produced more than 226 billion kilowatt hours since 1989. This could cover the demand of private households in Baden-Württemberg for more than eleven years,“ explains Jörg Michels, General Technical Manager of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station. He can also be proud of the environmental result: “More than 218 million tonnes of poisonous CO2 carbon dioxide have been saved from being emitted into the environment in the past 20 years thanks to the operation of Block II,“ continues Jörg Michels. As a comparison: German industry as a whole emits around 170 million tonnes of CO2 each year and all private households in Germany emit around 115 million tonnes of CO2. Block II prevents 11 million tonnes of CO2 being emitted each year.
International Atomic Energy Agency: “The level at which operational safety is dealt with is one of the highest in the world.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which assessed the GKN at the request of EnBW with a multi-stage procedure in the years 2007 and 2009, also recently made a statement on the safety level of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station. The IAEA deems the level at which operational safety is handled at the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station literally “as one of the highest in the world“. Handling of the GKN with pointers from the IAEA is described as “excellent” and “at the upper end” in international comparison. The IAEA also stated that: “EnBW generally shows a high level of dedication and leadership with the management of safety and safety culture.”
The annual revisions are one of the expressions of EnBW’s safety philosophy. “We have invested another double-figure million amount in this year’s revision of Block II. These investments benefit the safety of our facility and also keep it up-to-date with technical developments,“ explained Jörg Michels. “At this high safety level, our nuclear power stations will continue to play an important role for electricity supplies in the future. Hand-in-hand with renewable energy resources, they are essential for a safe, environmentally-friendly and economic energy mix.”
Successful revision process
“The revision process and the cooperation between our team and colleagues from other manufacturing and special companies was outstanding,“ reports Gerd-Josef Engel, Director of Block II. “We were able to successfully perform all planned work. In addition to the standard routine work, this year’s work included inner tests on one of the four steam producers and two of the eight pressure accumulators. We have also subjected these pressure accumulators to a pressure test. We have replaced the motor on one of the four main coolant pumps and overhauled the axial bearing on another pump. A general overhaul was also undertaken on one of the three main cold water pumps.”
The revision work took place under the supervision of the Environmental Ministry for Baden-Württemberg and was accompanied by assessors from the TÜV and KeTAG (Nuclear Technology Assessment Consortium for Baden-Württemberg) commissioned by the ministry.
After acceptance of the work, the Environmental Ministry agreed to the facility being reinitialised. During the revision, two reportable incidents of the lowest report category were displayed and published. These incidents did not have any effect on the safety of the facility, personnel or the environment.