Leibstadt closed to replace faulty fuel rods

21 November 2017

Switzerland's Leibstadt nuclear power plant will remain closed until the end of December to replace defective fuel elements.  

On 30 October, Liebstadt announced an extension to its annual maintenance outage for replacement of 16 fuel elements did not meet the specifications. Since then, clarifications with the supplier showed that further eight fuel elements in the 648 assembly core are affected by the same issues. The operator has decided to replace those elements as a precautionary measure during the outage.

The Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI has been informed.

"The replacement of the fuel elements necessitates a re-design of the reactor core including a comprehensive release process by the regulatory authority," said KKL, which is owned by Axpo, Alpiq and BKW. 

"As a result, the restart of the power plant is expected to be delayed towards the end of December 2017."

France’s Areva said on 17 November that, although it had delivered defective fuel rods for nuclear reactors, there was no safety risk. 

Areva said that following the discovery of a leaking fuel rod at its Paimboeuf, France, zirconium-tube manufacturing plant, tests had shown that some fuel rods, which should have been rejected, had been delivered to utilities. It said that fuel already loaded into reactors could continue operating without impairing plant safety.

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