Permits to decommission Germany's Biblis nuclear power plant are to be issued to RWE Power following approval of its plans by the ministry of the environment in the state of Hesse, environment minister Priska Hinz said in a statement on 30 March. The operation to dismantle the two reactors is expected to take about 15 years. The Biblis reactors were among eight units to be ordered to be shut down immediately in the wake of the 2011Fukushima accident. Biblis A (1,167MWe) and B (1,240MWe) are pressurised water reactors, which had been licensed to operate until 2019 and 2021.
RWE Power submitted applications in August 2012 to Hesse's ministry of the environment, climate protection, agriculture and consumer protection for the decommissioning and dismantling of the two reactors. The application outlined in detail the proposed approach, the extent of dismantling, the procedures to be followed and the precautions to ensure radiation protection. A detailed safety report was also prepared and an environmental impact assessment carried out.
"In essence, the authorisations include the right of RWE Power to finalise the operation of units A and B of the nuclear power plant in Biblis in southern Hesse and the dismantling of plant parts as well as the right to process, store and dispose of radioactive wastes," the ministry said. "The approval for unit B also covers the further handling of irradiated fuel elements since, unlike unit A, unit B is not yet free of nuclear fuel. The campaign for the removal of nuclear fuel will begin this year."