GNS-led consortium wins German decommissioning contract

23 January 2018

PreussenElektra has awarded a decommissioning contract to ZerKon, a consortium of GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service, Westinghouse Electric Germany and Westinghouse Electric Sweden. The contract covers the dismantling and packaging of reactor pressure vessel internals in six nuclear power plants that are scheduled for dismantling.

Grohnde: due to close by 31 December 2021 (Image: PreussenElektra)

EOn subsidiary PreussenElektra announced today that it placed the order with ZerKon in mid-December after "several months" of negotiations. The project will take more than ten years to complete.

PreussenElektra's managing director for decommissioning and dismantling, Jan Cornelis Homan, said the award of the contract was an important milestone for the company.

"The removal of the internals in the reactor pressure vessels is of vital importance for the successful implementation of our dismantling strategy for every single decommissioning site and for the entire fleet," he said. "The dismantling and packaging of these internals is technically one of the most demanding and complex projects within the decommissioning process. We therefore need experienced and proven partners for this work, who can safely and reliably implement the complexity of the project."

GNS, which is owned by four German nuclear utilities including PreussenElektra, will be the consortium lead and will be responsible for packaging the waste for final storage. Westinghouse will be primarily responsible for the disassembly of the reactor pressure vessel internals, using proven dismantling technology.

Following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the withdrawal of the operating licences of eight German nuclear power plants and revived plans to phase out nuclear power by 2022. PreussenElektra operates three of Germany's eight currently operating nuclear units: Brokdorf, Grohnde and Isar 2, all due to close by 2022. It also operated Grafenrheinfeld, shut down in 2015, and Isar 1 and Unterweser, which along with seven other nuclear power plants was shut down in March 2011.

Dismantling and packaging of the pressure vessel internals will be performed remotely, underwater. For PreussenElektra's six plants, this will involve packing a total of 900 tonnes material into 1100 casks and containers suitable for final storage.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News