May 29, 2023

Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant: dismantling will take 18 years

Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant: dismantling will take 18 years

Since the 27. June 2015 no more electricity produced at grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant. The end for the plant came earlier than expected, after the power operation was actually approved until the end of 2015. However, due to the lack of economic viability resulting from the nuclear fuel tax, the operator drew the consequences earlier and finally ceased electricity production.
Since then, the plant has been running in the so-called post-operational phase. The actual dismantling can only begin once the corresponding decommissioning and dismantling permit has been obtained.

Energy turnaround: aigner looking for solutions for electricity in bavaria
bernd kaiser, new in office as power plant manager since april this year, explains the further procedure after the end of the operating period. After the application for decommissioning the plant had already been submitted in 2014, all the steps required for a decommissioning and dismantling permit had to be coordinated with the relevant authorities. So the public was involved and an investigation was carried out.

Waiting for dismantling permit

Now it is hoped that the application documents will not give rise to any objections and that a dismantling permit will be issued within the next four weeks, i.E. In january 2018. In the meantime, no one has remained inactive. After the power plant was shut down, all systems and components that were no longer needed were taken out of service. The next step was to optimize all affected systems in order to reduce the power plant's energy consumption during shutdown. An upside-down world for grafenrheinfeld conditions. For decades, electricity was produced in coarse quantities. Total of 333 billion kilowatt hours. This could supply the entire free state of bavaria with electricity for four years. The task now is to save electricity.

Fuel elements still radioactive

Even without production, the plant must of course be maintained, inspection work must be carried out. The fuel elements in the reactor building are still radioactive.
If the schedule can be adhered to, all fuel assemblies should be removed from the reactor building in grafenrheinfeld by the end of 2020 and placed in casks in the interim storage facility at the site. This is also the earliest point at which nuclear dismantling of the plant can begin. The operator, preussenelektra, assumes that the dismantling will take place from the inside out. An approach that has already been practiced at the stade and wurgassen power plant sites and with which good experience has been gained.

In plain language, this means that dismantling begins in the reactor building, where square meter after square meter has to be decontaminated. A gigantic task in view of the rough conditions. 18 years are planned before the power plant is completely cleared, d.H. No more radioactivity can be detected. The weakly to moderately contaminated material produced in connection with the dismantling is to be stored in a 100-meter-long, 28-meter-wide and 17-meter-high staging hall, which is yet to be built, until it is transferred to the "konrad" repository in 2023, according to the plan can be removed.

400 fuel elements in storage

The castor containers with highly radioactive material, currently 21 with 19 fuel elements each, will remain at the grafenrheinfeld site until further notice. Should there one day be a repository, they were stored there. According to power plant management, the plans call for nuclear dismantling to be completed by 2033. Only then will the conventional demolition take place, i.E. The demolition of the parts of the power plant that never came into contact with radioactivity. The cooling towers, for example, or the machine hall. That would be in the period between 2033 and 2035.

But there are also voices of local politicians who argue that at least the towers should be rubbed down much earlier. Then it would be easier for everyone to see the progress of the dismantling of the backbone of the grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant. As bernd kaiser explains, such a procedure was currently being considered. "We will see to what extent the cooling towers of the power plant can be demolished sooner. But this is also an economic question." As things stand at present, it can be assumed that the towers will fall sometime between the years 2033 and 2035. Then only hours of preparation hall and the "bella" said intermediary camp. The often apostrophized reconstruction to the "green meadow will never happen anyway. Until the last bolt is decontaminated, the new plant manager will have to deal with the dismantling. For the now 44-year-old definitely a life task. The native of baden, who studied mechanical engineering in hamburg, is now settling in for the long haul in france.


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