The Baden-Württemberg ministry of environment has on 12 April issued German utility EnBW a permit to decommission and dismantle unit 1 of its Philippsburg NPP in Karlsruhe. Philippsburg 1 has been free of nuclear fuel since last December.
The permit covers the preparation and dismantling of plant equipment and the release of non-contaminated and non-irradiated substances, as well as handling of radioactive residues. Most of this work will take place within plant buildings, the demolition of which is not covered by the permit.
EnBW applied in 2013 for permission to decommission and dismantle its Neckarwestheim 1 and Philippsburg 1 units, which were among the eight oldest German reactors taken out of service immediately after March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. EnBW received the permit to decommission and dismantle Neckarwestheim 1 in February 2017. EnBW also applied in July 2016 to decommission Philippsburg 2 and Neckarwestheim 2, although those units are expected to continue commercial operation until late 2019 and late 2022 respectively. Last year the utility said all five of its nuclear units had entered “a formal decommissioning process”. EnBW’s fifth reactor, Obrigheim, is Germany’s oldest reactor and was permanently shut down in May 2005 before the government embarked on its nuclear phase-out policy.
EnBW said the first dismantling work at Philippsburg 1 will probably begin in May. It plans to dismantle parts of the primary circuit, including pumps, piping, cable ducts and electrical installations. It will also begin dismantling work in the turbine hall. Dismantling of the unit is expected to take 10-15 years. It would then be released from atomic law and be considered a conventional industrial plant.