Tech

The long dismantling of the Lower Weser nuclear power plant

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Sheep grazing on the dyke bleating. The surrounding fields are harvested, the trees autumnal colorful. The Wesermarsch landscape is idyllic. Through the clouds of mist the outlines of the huge dome of the "Unterweser nuclear power plant" (KKU) seem unreal. Since the mid-1970s, the nuclear plant is already there and outwardly, nothing will change until 2032, because the decommissioning begun in 2018 runs from the inside out. First, the radiation-sensitive control area is completely gutted. It is not until 2032 that the conventional demolition begins.

Therefore, Gerd Reinstrom does not prefer to break off at the moment. "People think the same, because the excavator is rolling," says Reinstrom, who has been working at KKU since 1982 and has been managing the plant since 2013. "The dismantling is a filigree disassembly." And many are involved in that. The parking lot in front of the complex is full. 165 own employees are involved in the dismantling and 160 employees of third-party companies. The regulations are as extensive as they are complex and are governed by the Atomic Energy Act. "Here, not everyone can do what they want, but it goes after very strict conditions," says Reinstrom.

Since February 21, 2019, the plant is fuel-free. The fuel elements are stored in 40 separate nine-element castor containers in a separate and secured outbuilding, which is managed by the Bundesgesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung (BZG). In the spring of 2020, the underwater work on the internals of the reactor pressure vessel to begin. In 2032, the so-called nuclear dismantling is to be ended, ie the specially protected control area has to be dismantled. As far as the schedule.

The employees of the nuclear power plant have all seen each other in gray or olive green underpants, wearer undershirts and chic slippers. Moving is an everyday routine. Put private clothes in the locker, put on fine ribbed linen and slippers, then step out through the lock where the radiation is measured and controlled by two dosimeters and put on orange overalls, orange socks and white shoes. There are several locks. The whole two, three times a day. You should better go to the toilet first, because they are only available in front of the lock.

The work clothes are washed in the own laundry. Lars Wiese has known the procedure for years. The radiation protection engineer was involved in the decommissioning of the Würgassen NPP (also part of PreussenElektra) for eight years and came to the Wesermarsch in 2015 to accompany the dismantling of the KKU. "We want to prevent clothing from leaving the control area when radioactive substances can reach the company premises or the general state territory," says Wiese, describing the goal of daily moving.

. (tagsToTranslate) NPP Unterweser (t) Nuclear Power (t) Nuclear Power Plant

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