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Fig. 1. Mühleberg nuclear power plant. // Bild 1. Kernkraftwerk Mühleberg. Photo/Foto: STEAG

STEAG Energy Services enlisted to decommission a Swiss nuclear power plant

STEAG Energy Services GmbH (SES), Essen/Germany, has been enlisted jointly with Kraftanlagen Heidelberg to dismantle the core internals of the reactor vessel within the Mühleberg nuclear power plant (KKM) in Switzerland. The power station (Figure 1), situated 14 km to the west of Bern, is operated by BKW, an energy and infrastructure company with a presence in the global arena. The plant has an electrical power output of 373 MW and is scheduled to be taken offline towards the end of 2019. Decommissioning will commence in 2020. The contract awarded to the German consortium is valued at the lower end of the eight-figure range.

SES – STEAG GmbH’s service-providing subsidiary – and Kraftanlagen Heidelberg have been collaborating successfully for years now, e. g., in China. In Germany, too, they work together to decommission nuclear power plants. “We are delighted by the confidence that BKW has shown in the technical expertise of our consortium,” says Joachim Rumstadt, Chair of the Executive Board at STEAG GmbH.

The Swiss contract involves a task that is technically challenging. The power station was commissioned back in 1972. Its core internals are radioactive and must be dismantled under water. The tools employed for this job include plasma torches, allowing the process of dismantling the large metal internals to be controlled remotely. SES and Kraftanlagen Heidelberg will then pack the dismantled components for removal to an interim storage location. The dismantled components will be temporarily stored in the central, interim storage facility ZWILAG, in which SES had a controlling interest when it was set up in the 1990s. Decommissioning of the core internals is set to commence in 2020 and is expected to take two years.