Germany Needs Plan To Close Down Nuclear Plants

June 21, 2012 | By
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All Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants are set to be shut down by 2022. But decommissioning and eventually deconstructing the plants can take much longer. Government and energy companies are facing a gigantic challenge.

What to do with a decommissioned nuclear power plant? Seal it up under concrete? Completely take it apart for removal? That’s the decision that power companies operating nuclear plants now have to make. By law, they are required to organize the shut down and proper disposal of their facilities. But regional authorities are also involved in the deconstruction as their approval is required for changes made to the plants.

The Federal Environment Ministry is currently working on an overall plan for the coordinated dismantling of Germany’s nuclear plants. Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said he wants to get all nuclear plant operators involved in negotiations.

“When the plants where set up, a coordinated approach proved useful. This could be helpful again now with the dismantling, both for the technical procedures as well as the approval process,” a ministry spokeswoman told DW.

A difficult challenge

The deconstruction of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants is a first. Officials at energy company RWE, which operates four plants in Germany, said they are confident the company is well prepared for the job.

“Across Germany, and also at RWE itself, there is enough experience when it comes to deconstructing nuclear facilities,” RWE spokesman Lothar Lambertz told DW. “A large part of the job will be done by specialists who are also involved in the construction and operation of such plants.”

Read the whole story:  DW

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