Germany’s  GNS group has received an order from PreussenElektra (PEL) for the dismantling of the reactor pressure vessels (RPV) of its entire nuclear power fleet.

The project managed by GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service, called ReaDi ("Reactor Dismantling"), comprises the complete dismantling as well as the packaging of the six pressure vessels, each weighing 400-500 tons, for final disposal.

The project is expected to take 10 years.

Höfer & Bechtel, in which the GNS Group has held a majority stake since last year, will be responsible for dismantling the RPVs. 

GNS will be responsible, not only for the project management, but also for packaging the dismantled components for final disposal.

Both companies are supported by GNS subsidiary WTI Wissenschaftlich-Technische Ingenieurberatung.

"We need experienced and proven partners also for this project, which is strategically important for decommissioning. Both companies have already shown that they have the necessary competence and experience in implementing complex and sensitive projects," said Dr Guido Knott, PreussenElektra Managing Director responsible for decommissioning and dismantling.

This is not GNS’s first order from PreussenElektra for decommissioning activities: two years ago, a consortium also led by GNS was awarded the contract for dismantling and packaging the RPV internals of the six PreussenElektra reactors.

"After the disposal of the RPV internals, we will seamlessly continue the dismantling of the reactor pressure vessels", explained Boris Westerwinter, group leader for dismantling and major projects responsible for the two PEL projects. "This offers a high synergy potential, as we are already very familiar with all the boundary conditions and circumstances."

GNS also plays a decisive role in the complete defuelling of all German nuclear plants with its CASTOR casks for irradiated fuel elements as well as with the GNS IQ Integrated Quiver System for the safe packaging of damaged fuel rods, developed jointly with Höfer & Bechtel.

"With the acquisition of Höfer & Bechtel last year, we have consistently strengthened our position to meet the challenges of the upcoming dismantling projects," said Dr Hannes Wimmer, Chairman of the GNS Management Board.