Biblis nuclear power plant
|Biblis nuclear power plant|
|Commercial operation:||Feb. 26, 1975|
|Shutdown:||March 18, 2011|
Decommissioned reactors (gross):
|2 (2,525 MW)|
Planning set (gross):
|2 (2,690 MW)|
|Energy fed in in 2009:||2524.3 GWh|
|Energy fed in since commissioning:||461,971.262 GWh|
|Website:||Page at RWE|
|Was standing:||December 31, 2009|
|The data source of the respective entries can be found in the documentation .|
The shutdown Biblis nuclear power plant (KWB) is located in the southern Hessian community of Biblis near the confluence of the Weschnitz and the Rhine . The owner and former operator of the nuclear power plant is RWE Power AG .
The nuclear power plant Biblis delivered with two almost identical pressurized water reactors a total capacity of up to 2,525 megawatts into the power grid. Biblis was the second most profitable nuclear power plant in Germany after Gundremmingen / Bavaria. Two other initially planned blocks, Biblis C and Biblis D, were not built.
In the context of the Fukushima nuclear disaster , RWE had to shut down Block A (the older of the two reactors) on the evening of March 18, 2011 due to possible safety risks for the population. At this point in time, block B was already undergoing a scheduled overhaul, so it did not have to be taken off the grid. RWE thus followed the order of the Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection to shut down the system for three months (so-called nuclear moratorium ).
On April 1, 2011, RWE announced that it had filed a lawsuit against this order to protect the interests of the shareholders before the Hessian Administrative Court (VGH). It is assumed that a lost profit of around 1 million euros per day of standstill, for which compensation is demanded. At the end of February 2013, the Hessian VGH ruled on the basis of the continuation declaratory action that the three-month shutdown ordered after the Fukushima disaster was unlawful. The Federal Administrative Court rejected the complaints against the non-admission of the appeal in December 2013. The state of Hesse is now threatened with a claim for damages by the operator RWE. An investigative committee in the Hessian state parliament has been dealing with the decommissioning of the power plant since March 2014.
The Federal Network Agency announced on August 31, 2011 that the power plant would no longer be started up and that it would not be available as a “cold reserve”. The operator RWE announced on May 11, 2012 that it preferred direct demolition to safe enclosure and that it was making preparations. RWE Power AG applied for the decommissioning and dismantling of the Biblis power plant, units A and B, in a letter dated August 6, 2012. The two units were decommissioned on June 1, 2017, and dismantling work began immediately afterwards.
The wall thickness of the Biblis A reactor building is 60 centimeters, the exhaust chimney is 101 meters high. The reactor pressure vessel weighs 425 tons. Biblis A has two 80 meter high fan cooling towers with forced ventilation. The base diameter of a cooling tower is 68 m. Block A belongs to the 2nd generation of German pressurized water reactors and is the world's first commercially used nuclear reactor of the 1,300 MW class. It served as a model for the following generations of pressurized water systems, the pre-convoy and the convoy generation. The reactor core of Biblis A consists of 193 fuel elements with a total of around 45,000 fuel rods and around 100 tons of uranium dioxide.
As the father of block A is Henry Almond .
The wall thickness of the Biblis B reactor building is 80 centimeters, the exhaust chimney is 100 meters high. Biblis B has two 80-meter-high forced-ventilation fan cooling towers. The base diameter of a cooling tower is 69 m. As a rule, however, Unit B was operated without cooling towers. Cooling tower operation was only necessary in the case of high Rhine water temperatures or low water in order not to exceed the specified temperature limits.
Blocks C and D
A natural draft wet cooling tower with a height of 160 meters was planned for Block C and Block D. A sectional and functional model of block C is in the information center. Biblis C was planned as a convoy system. The first large components such as reactor pressure vessels and steam generators have already been manufactured. The reactor pressure vessel was later used for material tests. The reactor lid is still used today for inspection teams as a training object.
Data of the reactor blocks
The nuclear power plant has two shut down and two discarded units:
|Reactor block||Reactor type||KWU building line||electrical power||thermal reactor power||start of building||Network synchronization||Commercial operation||generated energy since commissioning||Shutdown
finally shut down
|Electricity quantities from
Jan. 1, 2000
quantities of electricity
|Biblis-A||Pressurized water reactor||
2nd generation DWR
|1,167 MW||1,225 MW||3,517 MW||01/01/1970||08/25/1974||02/26/1975||244 TWh||May 30, 2011 Atomic moratorium||62.00||68.617|
|Biblis-B||1,240 MW||1,300 MW||3,733 MW||02/01/1972||04/25/1976||January 31, 1977||260 TWh||81.46||70.663|
Construction and planning
In the planning phase of the power plant, various locations were considered, including Trebur , about 35 kilometers away from the current location , but the decision was made in favor of Biblis due to the very good grid connection. Both a 220 kV and a 400 kV line are available here. The blocks are connected to both the substation in Pfungstadt and the large substation in Bürstadt .
Initially, there were hardly any critical voices against Biblis: only one citizen protested against the application for a permit for Block A. Only eight citizens raised objections to the approval of Block B, which was even more powerful with 1,300 MW, in 1971. The press, too, has been reluctant to write critical articles for years, as a study initiated by the Federal Ministry of Research in 1974 shows: In only 123 of 20,000 newspaper articles analyzed from 1970 to 74, concerns about the technology are expressed or citizens' initiatives are mentioned.
The construction costs for Biblis A were around 800 million DM, for Biblis B around one billion DM. In the seventies, two more blocks, Blocks C and D, were planned. While Biblis D was quickly discarded (planning started in 1975, planning ended in 1979), the planning for Biblis C did not end until 1995.
On July 16, 1974, the first chain reaction was initiated in block A. Block A supplied electricity to the public grid for the first time on August 25, 1974 . The nuclear commissioning ( criticality ) took place in Block B on March 25, 1976.
In 2006, an on- site interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel elements with a heavy metal weight of 1400 tons was put into operation. It offers space for 135 castor casks with spent fuel elements. It is 92 m long, 38 m wide and 18 m high. From the outside, the building resembles an ordinary industrial hall. Seven Castor casks with radioactive waste from Sellafield are to be stored in the interim storage facility . The 85 centimeter thick outer walls and the 55 centimeter thick concrete roof reduce the radiation to such an extent that the values permitted on the power plant fence are complied with. About 80 places are currently occupied.
Operating times of the power plant units
In the so-called nuclear consensus , the federal government and energy supply companies have stipulated, among other things, that all German nuclear power plants are still allowed to generate a limited amount of residual electricity, which corresponds to a standard service life of 32 years on average. For Biblis A the final shutdown was for the end of 2009, the shutdown of Biblis B was planned for 2010. Due to the flexible regulation of residual electricity volumes, the shutdown date could not be precisely predicted because every standstill (see also events of October 16, 2006) postponed the date. After the federal government withdrew the shortening of the reactor operating times in 2010 and granted the Biblis A and Biblis B units additional electricity volumes of around eight years, the units were not expected to be shut down before 2020.
With the decision of the federal government of March 14, 2011, however, a three-month nuclear moratorium on the extension of the service life was announced, so that the power plant was shut down on March 18, 2011.
On May 29, 2011, the federal government decided that both units of the Biblis nuclear power plant should not go back online. There were considerations to have Block B shut down as a “reserve power plant”, but to be able to restart it briefly in the event of electricity bottlenecks. RWE did not agree with this decision. On June 16, 2011, RWE announced that Biblis B will no longer go online.
In 1997 the Hessian nuclear supervisory authority initiated proceedings for the decommissioning of Biblis A due to identified safety-related problems. However, the head of the Reactor Safety and Radiation Protection Department of the Federal Environment Ministry Gerald Hennenhöfer prevented the closure of the Biblis NPP, which had already been decided by the Hessian state government, by issuing federal supervisory instructions.
The atomic consensus allowed a consent-free transfer of electricity from older plants to younger plants; A transfer from younger to older systems required the approval of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment and the Chancellery. In the negotiations on the nuclear phase-out for the decommissioned Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant, RWE was awarded a transferable residual electricity volume of 107 TWh. Of this amount of electricity, 30 TWh could be transferred to Block B without approval. In September 2006, RWE AG submitted an application for the transfer of 30 TWh of electricity from the (younger) Mülheim-Kärlich power plant to the (older) Biblis A power plant. If this application had been approved, RWE would have operated the Biblis A power plant until the second half of 2011 and then - so the further consideration of RWE - can switch off together with Biblis B. Taking into account the shutdown due to the replacement of undercut anchors, the shutdown date mentioned would have been postponed to 2013.
This main application for Block A, submitted by RWE , was provisionally rejected by the Federal Environment Ministry in March 2007 and finally rejected in May 2007. The Ministry of the Environment represented the legal opinion that a transfer of electricity from the Mülheim-Kärlich power plant to Biblis A was not possible under the Atomic Energy Act. On April 7, 2008, the Ministry of the Environment rejected the auxiliary request for the transfer of electricity from the Emsland nuclear power plant to Biblis A, which was also submitted . The main reason given was that Biblis A had fewer safety reserves than the more modern Emsland nuclear power plant.
In April 2007, RWE Power filed a complaint with the Hessian Administrative Court in Kassel against the rejection of the main motion and also the subsidiary motion , which was dismissed. The appeal by RWE before the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig was also rejected by decision of March 26, 2009; the rejection of longer terms also applies to the Brunsbüttel nuclear power plant .
On January 21, 2010, talks between the federal government and energy suppliers took place for the first time after the change of government in 2009 . In order to ensure provisional continued operation until the decision of the federal government, RWE bought an electricity quota of 4.8 TWh from the already decommissioned Stade nuclear power plant of the operator E.ON in May 2010 . Depending on the mode of operation, the electricity quota for Biblis A could last until 2012.
A final decision on the continued operation of the nuclear power plants was made in autumn 2010. Both blocks received an additional electricity quota in addition to the amount of electricity specified in the nuclear consensus of 2002, which corresponded to an (arithmetical) additional term of around 8 years. The additional amount of electricity for Biblis A was 68.617 TWh (net) and was thus higher than the remaining amount of electricity of 62,000 TWh (net) specified in the 2002 nuclear consensus.
In November 2011, two unsuitable fuses were discovered in the Biblis A block and replaced. Neither the functionality nor the staff were affected by this. The operating company RWE carried out a check on all, i.e. several thousand, backups. Since it was not possible to find out why these fuses were being used, tests were also carried out on the components in other nuclear power plants.
On September 9, 2005, the IPPNW (Doctors for the Prevention of the Nuclear War, Doctors with Social Responsibility) submitted an application to the Hessian nuclear authority to shut down the Biblis B nuclear power plant. Since this application was not granted, the IPPNW filed a lawsuit on December 12, 2008 with the Hessian Administrative Court. Accordingly, the Biblis B power plant block had at least 210 fundamental and serious safety deficiencies. The IPPNW withdrew the application for withdrawal or revocation of the operating license by letter dated March 17, 2008.
According to the nuclear consensus , RWE was allowed to transfer a residual amount of electricity of up to 21.45 TWh from Mülheim-Kärlich to Biblis B without a permit, which, according to an estimate from June 2007, meant an extension of the service life for Biblis B until 2013. In August 2010, RWE made use of this option and had 8.1 TWh transferred to Biblis B.
Post-operational phase and dismantling
The reactors are in the post-operational phase . According to a forecast by the Hessian Ministry of the Environment, the plant is expected to be dismantled from 2016. Meanwhile, RWE is examining the option of sealing ( secure enclosure ), which would result in a much later dismantling. On June 1, 2017, RWE Power AG announced that it had taken advantage of the approval to dismantle the nuclear power plant. The dismantling work has officially started. These should last 15 years.
Since the shutdown of the Biblis nuclear power plant led to increased problems with maintaining the voltage, the transmission network operator Amprion and the power plant operator RWE Power decided to convert the synchronous generator of block A for phase shift operation in order to generate the required reactive current . The upgrade was carried out by Siemens from October 2011 to February 2012.
According to the operator, the safety devices of the two power plants that were built more than 30 years ago were constantly monitored and improved. The fact that, as required by the Atomic Energy Act , protection against damage was achieved in line with the state of the art in science and technology was regularly checked by supervisory authorities and their experts. As far as material fatigue is concerned, regular tests have shown that both units could have been operated without problems for 60 years. The IAEA lists the Biblis A and B systems as a reference for successful safety retrofitting of older nuclear power plants.
A study by Greenpeace clearly contradicts this representation. Unit A of the power plant was designed and built at a time when no protective measures were taken against the crash of a military aircraft.
Another criticism is that there is no separate emergency control room outside of the reactor building, from which a reactor can be controlled even in the event of serious malfunctions in the reactor building. Since the blocks are almost identical in construction and are also connected underground, it is possible in the event of an emergency to operate the neighboring block through an emergency control room located in the respective neighboring block and, in the event of an emergency, to shut it down in a regulated manner and to ensure the removal of residual heat. The critics, however, doubt that this is still possible in the event of an incident.
In the case of an "emergency", however, it is not an incident in the sense of a primary leak, rather the entire primary circuit including the steam generator up to the relief control valves (and associated safety valves) is fully functional. The area of the so-called auxiliary system building (for example, wastewater is treated here, ventilation systems are located there, etc.), the machine house, switchgear building, control room and supply wing are no longer available. In such a case, it is therefore necessary to regulate the supply of water to the steam generator and thus the cooling and borating of the primary circuit from an alternative control point. Here - and this is unique in Biblis - one can fall back on the large interrelationship of the blocks. At all other locations in Germany there are no two identical blocks (with the exception of Gundremmingen, where it is, however, boiling water systems), so that one had to rely on its own emergency control room for the construction of the systems there.
On July 15, 2009, it was announced that, after the annual report of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) and the incident at the Krümmel nuclear power plant had been announced, Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel would retrofit closer meshed sump sieves by the operator RWE before restarting after the overhaul that has been taking place since January 2009 a sump filter backwash requested. In the event of a loss of coolant accident, it is assumed that insulating materials collect in the building sump and these could then clog the sump sieves, which ensure aftercooling. Thanks to the sump filter backwash, this can be avoided and safe after-cooling operation is guaranteed.
Various organizations critical of nuclear power repeatedly criticized the fact that there were no so-called stamp fields on at least 200 safety-relevant pipelines. The operator, as well as the TÜV had refuted this, however, and various reports confirmed that the complete documentation according to the requirements of the Atomic Energy Act was available for all safety-relevant pipelines.
Due to their operational nature, nuclear power plants discharge small amounts of radioactive substances (emissions) via exhaust air and wastewater. The Atomic Energy Act obliges the supervisory authorities, among other things, to monitor operations with regard to the permitted limit values. A corresponding overview for the KWB can be found on the website of the Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
There have been a total of 437 (Biblis A) plus 440 (Biblis B) events that have to be reported (as of December 31, 2013).
Most of these reportable events, however, can be assigned to reporting category N, according to the INES scale 0, which means that these were events with little or no safety relevance.
- December 17, 1987 : Employees overlooked a non-closed shut-off valve. To close the valve , a test valve was opened in jog mode . As a result, radioactive primary coolant escaped from the containment into the annulus. Since the exit of the reactor cooling water from the primary circuit took place outside the containment and thus a return from the sump via the safety feed pumps or after-cooling pumps was no longer possible, the risk of a possible meltdown was heavily discussed. The incident came to the public only after a year through an article in an American journal (Nucleonics Week) . However, the operator reported it to the authorities in good time, which did not publish a press release. After the incident became known, the Federal Environment Minister reprimanded the information policy of the operator RWE, and thousands demonstrated for the shutdown of the power plant. The incident was subsequently classified as level 1 with the introduction of the International Assessment Scale for Nuclear Events (INES), which in the assessment scheme according to INES means that the statutory emission limit values are exceeded and an individual of the population is exposed to radiation beyond the statutory limit values ("Incident / Incident" ) means. Since this event, Biblis NPP has published every occurrence on the plant via a press officer and later on the Internet. The cost of this reportable event is estimated at $ 16 million.
- October 3, 1989 : Parts of the emergency power rails are disconnected for 14 hours. The Hessian Ministry of the Environment announces this as a category E ('urgent') incident.
- 23 August 1999 : reportable event of category N: coolant containing activity enters the superheated steam circuit due to a leak in the coolant cleaning system.
- February 8, 2004 : Event of the urgent category (event no. 04/016, INES level 0: "No or only very little safety-related significance"): During full load operation, a weather-related short circuit occurred due to an unsafe covering of safety-relevant devices outside the power plant that led to the separation of the power plant block from the 220 kV high-voltage network at 12:48 p.m. As a result of the incident, the block was also disconnected from the 380 kV network due to faulty control mechanisms. This sudden drop in load meant that the system was no longer able to stabilize for its own needs. As a result of these events, the reactor was automatically shut down to avoid further safety risks and all four emergency diesel generators were started, which were necessary to maintain reactor safety. At 1:18 p.m. the 380 kV main grid was reconnected and the emergency diesel generators were switched off by 2:23 p.m. According to information from RWE, the system behaved according to its design, and at no point was there any increased risk to the population.
- September 15, 2006 : While Block A was being revised, there was another faulty shutdown of the 380 kV network with a load shedding on internal demand . To prevent damage to the turbine of the secondary circuit, a TUSA (turbine shutdown) was carried out, which in turn necessitated a reactor shutdown .
- April 4, 2011 : After a fire in a substation in Bürstadt (Bergstrasse), the switchover to the reserve network failed in two redundancies. The emergency diesel with the corresponding redundancies behaved as designed and supplied the nuclear area. The incident was classified in category N (normal message)
Because the following occurrences were all from one source and not fully reported, the following occurrences cannot be clearly assigned to a block.
- March 1994 : The motor of a main coolant pump burned inside the containment in Biblis A because a short-circuit had occurred due to a chisel forgotten in the pump during maintenance work. As a result, there was a dispute between the Hessian environment minister and the federal environment minister over the decommissioning of the reactor.
- July 3, 1998 : Radiant spots ("hot spots") are discovered on an empty transport container for spent fuel elements. The radiation is 7500 times the permissible value.
- July 11, 1998 : Two leaks were discovered in Block B on the secondary circuit.
- January 6, 1999 : A secondary cooling system in the disconnected block B is radioactively contaminated by a defective heating pipe. The nuclear supervisory authority insists that RWE must first clarify the "damage mechanism" before unit B can be approached again.
- August 28, 2002 : Error in the power supply of the emergency system. There was a "false excitation" of a relay and then a power failure in one of a total of four power supply lines of the emergency system. The Hessian Environment Minister appoints the management company's board of directors.
- April 28, 2003 : The Hessian Environment Minister announced that the emergency cooling system has been inadequate since Biblis A was put into operation and does not correspond to the operating license. There was a risk of the reactor overheating in the event of an accident. The reactor was therefore temporarily shut down.
- July 12, 2004 : Only half the emergency cooling system worked for over two hours.
- October 16, 2006 : Unscheduled shutdown of blocks A and B due to dowel connections on pipe supports that were not set according to specifications. The special dowels had been retrofitted under the supervision of an expert to make the systems more earthquake-proof . Random checks showed that about 70% of the 20 cm long dowels did not have a red marking that was flush with the concrete wall. In January 2007 it was reported that the incorrectly installed special dowels should be replaced by longer dowels; in June it was announced that all 15,000 special anchors would be replaced. After the competent authorities had confirmed the completion of all anchor renovation work and the revision measures carried out in parallel, Unit B of the Biblis power plant resumed operation on December 1, 2007. According to a press release from RWE Power on February 9, 2008, the Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection has given the approval to restart Block A. The prerequisite for this step was the successful completion of the anchor renovation and all revision measures. The multi-day measurement and commissioning program was then started in block A.
Investigation committee in the Hessian state parliament
In March 2014, the investigation committee 19/1 was set up in the Hessian state parliament to clarify what happened during the provisional closure in March 2011 and who was responsible for it. The final report was published on April 21, 2016.
Until the mid-1990s, no official abbreviation was used for the Biblis nuclear power plant, as is common with most other nuclear power plants. The abbreviation KKB was already assigned to the Brunsbüttel nuclear power plant and KWB was reserved for the planned nuclear power plant in Borken , Hesse . It was only after the project in Borken was finally abandoned in 1995 that the abbreviation for the Biblis nuclear power plant was used.
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