The Mühleberg nuclear power plant will stop generating electricity on 20 December 2019, utility BKW recently informed the Swiss nuclear safety regulator. Decommissioning of the plant is expected to start in September 2020, the company said.
|The single-unit Mühleberg plant (Image: BKW)
BKW announced in late 2013 that Mühleberg will be permanently shut down in 2019 instead of the earlier planned 2022 because of "uncertainty surrounding political and regulatory trends". The single 372 MWe boiling water reactor began operating in 1972. It will be the first Swiss nuclear power plant to be decommissioned.
BKW has now announced that it informed the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) in late February that the Mühleberg plant will be disconnected from the grid on 20 December 2019. However, it noted this shutdown date assumes that "the legal framework necessary to begin immediate dismantling is implemented". One of the prerequisites is obtaining the necessary decommissioning permit from ENSI.
The company said that preparations for dismantling the Mühleberg plant will begin immediately after the plant has stopped generating power. The plant will enter the technical post-operation phase once all the fuel has been transferred from the reactor to the used fuel pool and that is cooled independently from other systems, BKW said. This process is expected to take at least nine months to complete. The final decommissioning of the plant will start in late September 2020 at the earliest, it said.
In December 2015, BKW submitted an application to the country's Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (DETEC) for permission to decommission the plant. The application documents are expected to be put forward for public consultation in early April. The consultation period will last about one month. BKW said it anticipates receiving the decommissioning order from DETEC in mid-2018.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News