Germany's Stade: decommissioning ‘on schedule’

11 September 2009

Areva said 10 September that the work to dismantle and package the reactor pressure vessel internals at the Stade nuclear power plant in Germany has been completed “successfully and precisely on schedule.”

Credit: AREVA
Disassembly of the nuclear vessel shell using the tower band saw

The 630MW PWR operated by E.ON Kernkraft GmbH was commissioned in 1972 and shut down in November 2003 for economic reasons.

At the start of 2007, Areva was commissioned dismantle and pack the internals of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) at Stade. The French firm set to work by developing a plan which outlined each procedure from dismantling of the core internals (with a total weight of 85 tons) to packaging them for permanent disposal.

When the Areva team began work in May 2008 the steel wall, up to 200mm thick, was cut through cleanly using remote-controlled high-tech tools and a special water-jet cutting technique. Twelve months later, the RPV internals were dismantled. All the work was carried out underwater to meet high safety and radiation protection standards.

The dismantling and packaging of the RPV internals was completed by the end of August. The demolition work is to be completed and the site restored to Greenfield status by 2015.

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