EnBW granted permits for decommissioning infrastructure

23 February 2016

UPDATED - This article has been updated to reflect that EnBW has now been awarded building permits for decommissioning infrastructure at both the Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg sites.

German power company EnBW has received permits for the construction of decommissioning infrastructure at its Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg nuclear power plants. The company plans to start building soon residual material treatment centres and interim site-waste storage facilities at the two sites.

EnBW submitted applications for the construction and operation of the two facilities at bothe the Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg plants in 2014. EnBW announced on 22 February that building permits for the Neckarwestheim facilities had been issued by the District Office Heilbronn. The following day it said the District Office Karlsruhe had granted permits for the Philippsburg facilities.

The company said the initial phase of preparing the ground of the construction areas at both sites had already begun, that the area of the two facilities and an administration building would be about 10,000 square meters and that it would take some two-and-a-half years to build and commission them.

In the residual material treatment centres, wastes generated through the decommissioning of the plants will be processed so that the volume of radioactive waste is kept to a minimum. The company expects that, following treatment, only about 1% of the total demolition volume will be classified as highly-radioactive waste. The remaining waste will be of the low- to intermediate-level which can be stored and later disposed of in the planned Konrad repository.

Neckarwestheim 1 was shut down in 2011, while unit 2 is scheduled to close in 2022. Unit 1 of the Philippsburg plant was also closed in 2011, with unit 2 expected to operate until the end of 2019. As the existing waste storage capacity at both sites is insufficient for the dismantling of unit 1 and the subsequent decommissioning of unit 2, EnBW is constructing an additional interim storage facilities.

"The facilities are required for the rapid and efficient dismantling of EnBW's nuclear power plants," the company said.

EnBW formally applied in May 2013 to the state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg for permission to decommission and demolish Neckarwestheim 1 and Philippsburg 1. Both units were among the eight oldest German reactors taken out of service on the orders of Chancellor Angela Merkel, days after a tsunami hit Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.

The utility said it expects to receive decommissioning and dismantling licences for Neckarwestheim 1 and Philippsburg 1 in the second half of this year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News