Karlsruhe. Since Sunday, September 14th, unit II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station (GKN II) came back on line after its annual inspection. In the past two weeks a range of test and maintenance tasks have been carried out, technical projects have been completed and 44 of the 193 fuel elements have been replaced by new ones.
"As in previous inspections, we have once again taken great care to ensure that we make even more improvements to the plant in line with the latest technical developments. As a result, we can ensure that our safety standards match the highest international requirements and therefore guarantee a climate-friendly and secure energy supply in Baden-Württemberg", explains Heiko Walch, Manager of unit II.
"I am very satisfied with the way in which the maintenance work has been performed. As usual, our teams of experts have worked effectively and efficiently together with the 1,100 members of staff from manufacturers and other specialist companies", summarised Heiko Walch. In total, the inspection team performed around 2,800 separate tasks. These included the general inspection of two of the four main coolant pumps, a thorough overhaul of the motor in one of the three main coolant water pumps and a routine check on the containment dome seals in the reactor building.
These maintenance tasks were carried out under the supervision of the Baden-Württemberg Department of the Environment, and were monitored by inspectors from the Technical Inspection Authority (TÜV), KeTAG (the Baden-Württemberg Nuclear Power Consultant Consortium) and the MPA (state material research laboratory, Stuttgart). After approving the works, the Department of the Environment agreed to the plant being restarted. A scheduled test performed during the inspection revealed a minor gap in the insulation around one of the small pipes that form part of the system used to monitor the seal around the top of the reactor pressure dome. This discovery was reported to the regulatory authority well within the required time period and assigned the lowest level of event category. It had no effect on the safety and security of the plant, its workforce or the environment.
Unit II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power station is a pressurised water reactor that produces 1,400 megawatts of electricity. The plant came into operation in 1989 and generated more than eleven billion kilowatt hours of power in 2007.