Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (GKN II) is being disconnected from the grid this Friday evening (1 September 2017) as planned. During the inspection, testing and maintenance work will be completed, fuel elements replaced and a number of technical projects implemented.
"Block II in Neckarwestheim - just like Block 2 in Philippsburg - continues to be an important pillar for the reliable supply of electricity in Baden-Württemberg. The safe operation of these power plants holds the highest level of priority for us. Therefore, we are continuing to invest in their safety - such as with this year's inspection of GKN II," explains Christoph Heil, Managing Director of EnBW Kernkraft GmbH responsible for power plant operations. "One of the peculiarities of the Energiewende and the associated transition period is that we are continuing to improve the safety of a power plant like GKN II while already focussing on its dismantlement in parallel. We already submitted an application to dismantle GKN II - as well as Block 2 in Philippsburg - in 2016. When the dismantling work begins, we will not only be able to call on our experience from the dismantling of our nuclear power plant in Obrigheim but also from the dismantlement of the power plant blocks Neckarwestheim I and Philippsburg 1 that started at the beginning of 2017," continues Heil.
Around 1,000 additional employees are supporting the extensive inspection work
"This year's inspection programme for Block II includes around 2,800 individual activities, most of which can only be performed when the plant has been shut down," reports Harald Poppe, Head of the GKN II power plant. "Alongside annual routine work, the planned tasks also include maintenance measures on large-scale components and major systems. For example, we are completing a pressure test on the primary circuit for the power plant. One of the four main coolant pumps and one of the three main feed water pumps are being given a general overhaul. In addition, an eddy current inspection is being completed on two of the four steam generators. Furthermore, we are also replacing three transformers in one of the four redundancies for the electricity supply," continued Poppe. Around 1,000 additional experts from manufacturing and specialist companies will support the inspection team at GKN with the extensive inspection work.
The inspection work will take place under the supervision of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Industry and will be accompanied by auditors from TÜV and KeTAG (Baden-Württemberg Auditors Consortium for Nuclear Technology) appointed by the ministry.
Block II of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant is a pressurised water reactor with an electrical output of 1,400 megawatts. The power plant was commissioned in 1989 and generated around eleven billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016.
Block II is operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK). EnKK stands for safety in the operation and post operation, as well as the decommissioning and dismantling of the nuclear power plants in Baden-Württemberg. In Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg, EnKK generates electricity with one nuclear power plant at each location (GKN II and KKP 2). Power operation at KKP 2 will cease at the latest at the end of 2019 and at GKN II at the latest at the end of 2022. The safe dismantling of these power plants is then set to commence quickly. The required applications were submitted by EnKK in July 2016. A further power plant that no longer produces electricity is located at each of the sites (GKN I and KKP 1). EnKK received approval for the decommissioning and dismantling of these plants in February 2017 (GKN I) and April 2017 (KKP 1). Both power plants are now being dismantled. Good progress has been made with the dismantling of the nuclear power plant at the Obrigheim location since 2008.