Karlsruhe. Unit 1 of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant (KKP 1) was taken offline at the weekend for routine annual maintenance. Inspection and maintenance work will be carried out on it over the next few weeks, and 76 of its 592 fuel elements will be replaced.
"Our on-going investments run into the high millions for the maintenance tasks we perform in our installation to keep it up to date with the latest technical developments", explained Roman Zokfa, Unit 1 director. "The importance of these investments for safety and economic viability has once again been confirmed in the past year. Unit 1's power output was almost 7.277 billion kilowatt hours, its second best annual power output since it was commissioned in 1979. In total, the Philippsburg site, with its two units, has generated over 19 billion kilowatt hours, the most it has ever achieved in its working life so far."
"Only safe atomic power stations can be operated this economically, and make such a major contribution to supply security and to climate protection, as Philippsburg does", said Michael Wenk, Chairman of the Board of EnBW Kernkraft GmbH. 19 billion kilowatt hours are enough power to supply all the private households in Baden-Württemberg. At the same time, a positive side-effect of producing the electricity in this way was that the burden on the environment was reduced by 18 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas CO2. This amount is roughly equal to a quarter of the total annual CO2 emissions produced by Baden-Württemberg.
Over 1.200 specialist staff are involved in these maintenance tasks.
During the maintenance work on KKP 1, a range of larger individual projects will also be carried out alongside the routine jobs. "We are about to undertake an extensive range of different activities", reported Roman Zokfa. "We shall focus on maintenance and inspection tasks, in particular in the areas of control rod drives and the two forced circulating pumps. We will modernise the reactor water cleaning system and perform a general overhaul on one of the reactor feed pumps, one of the main condenser pumps, and a main cooling water pump. Construction and maintenance work will also be carried out on two of the four cooling water channels. In addition to all this, extensive work will also be performed on the generator and the internal low voltage network. Last but not least, we shall improve the fixings in the cooling and ventilation systems and carry out routine maintenance on the reserve network transformer."
In total, the KKP maintenance team has over 5,200 separate tasks to complete this year. To support them in this endeavour they will be assisted by around 1.200 manufacturing and support personnel.
On Saturday morning an emergency reactor shutdown occurred during system shutdown. Also on Saturday, during a routine inspection an electric switch in an emergency power switchboard was found to be non-functioning. The causes and the reporting obligation for these events are currently undergoing examination.
These maintenance tasks will be carried out under the supervision of the Baden-Württemberg Department of the Environment, and will be monitored by the Technical Inspection Authority (TÜV), the KeTAG (Baden-Württemberg Nuclear Power Consultant Consortium) and the MPA (state material research laboratory, Stuttgart).