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German reactor restarts after lengthy outage

24 марта 2010
Новости отрасли

RWE’s Biblis A pressurised water reactor has restarted after over a year offline for €68 million ($92 million) of upgrades and modernisation work.

RWE Power announced on 19 March that operations had restarted at the 1167 MWe unit, and that the plant was expected to start feeding power into the grid soon. The work done at the plant included upgrading security measures at the plant, plus safety audits and detailed inspections focusing on ultrasonic testing of the reactor pressure vessel and on eddy currents in the unit’s four steam generators. The plant has also undergone retrofitting and updating to increase the safety margins in the case of a major loss of coolant.

Biblis A, which started commercial operation in 1975, is Germany’s oldest operating nuclear power unit. However, under German nuclear policy introduced in 2001, the operational lives of Germany’s nuclear power plants is limited to 32 years. Indeed, had the unit not been in the maintenance outage it could have faced closure before last year’s governmental elections, which saw the return of a right-of-centre coalition government committed to rescinding the country’s policy to phase out nuclear power. Despite the recent expenditure lavished on the plant by RWE, Biblis A could still potentially face closure before the end of the year if a policy change enabling German nuclear utilities to extend plant operating lives is not forthcoming.

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