Karlsruhe. Unit I of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (GKN 1) was taken offline at the weekend for routine annual maintenance. As in every year, the annual maintenance is time for various testing and repair operations on the plant, and for the implementation of technical projects.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms the plant's high standards
“We are continuing to invest in Unit I because we are firmly convinced that it has a long future before it”, explains Jörg Michels, the chief technical officer at the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station. “We have had this confirmed to us by an independent authority. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has spent a total of four weeks inspecting our nuclear power station at many levels and has announced that, measured against the international standards, GKN I is a very good plant and demonstrates many of the features of a strong safety culture. The IAEA also established that a plant such as GKN I could be operated in accordance with international standards for another 60 years. This year's annual maintenance again ensures that the technical conditions for achieving this longevity continue to be guaranteed.”
Around 1000 additional technicians have been employed to complete the programme of maintenance.
The maintenance programme covers a total of around 3000 individual tasks. “In addition to the regularly scheduled work, we are also completing a number of one-off projects”, reports Helmut Scherla, Plant Manager for Unit I. “One of the three main feed pumps will be overhauled. We are also inspecting the inside of the feed water reservoir and uprating the oil system of one of the three main coolant pumps. Various pumps and pump motors will also be inspected and serviced. Our team will be supported in this comprehensive programme by around 1000 additional staff from the manufacturers and specialist companies.”
The maintenance work will be carried out under the supervision of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, and will be monitored on behalf of the ministry by consultants from the Technical Inspection Authority (TÜV) and KeTAG (the Baden-Württemberg Nuclear Power Consultant Consortium).
Unit I of the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant is a pressurized water reactor with a capacity of 840 megawatts. The plant came into operation in 1976 and generated more than four billion kilowatt hours of power in 2008.
Unit I is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK operates the nuclear power plants in Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg as well as the Obrigheim power plant that is now being decommissioned. The Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg sites produce around half the power needed in Baden-Württemberg.