Karlsruhe. Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station (GKN II) was taken off the grid last weekend for its annual inspection as scheduled. Testing and maintenance will be conducted during the inspection as well as several technical projects and the replacement of fuel elements.
"During the inspection, mainly those operations will be carried out which can only be performed when the plant is powered down", reports Gerd-Josef Engel, Manager of Block II. "The biggest technical project here is the replacement of the 380-ton middle section of the generator stand in the power station's machine house. Also, one of three water feed pumps, main condensate pumps and main coolant water pumps, plus one of four main coolant pumps, will each be fully overhauled. Furthermore, an eddy-current test of the U-pipes will take place in two of the four steam generators and a further steam generator will be subjected to an internal inspection."
In total, around 3,500 different tasks have to be performed. In order to achieve this, the inspection team at the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station will be assisted by over 1,500 additional workers from manufacturers and specialist firms.
The inspection tasks will be performed under the supervision of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Transport and will be accompanied by assessors from the TÜV and the KeTAG (Nuclear Technology Assessment Consortium for Baden-Württemberg) commissioned by the Ministry.
Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station is a pressurised water reactor with a performance of 1,400 megawatts. The plant went into operation in 1989 and produced over eleven and a half billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2009. Block II is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK operates the nuclear power stations in Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg as well as the nuclear power station in Obrigheim which is currently being phased out. Around half the electricity required by Baden-Württemberg is produced at the Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg sites.