Spiegel Online International, 15 May,2014.
Fearing astronomical cost overruns, German utility companies want to shift responsibility for dismantling nuclear power plants to the government. Despite the billions of euros in risks it entails, the proposal could still prove attractive for Berlin.
Germany’s latest problem weighs 275,000 tons. That’s the cumulative weight of the steel and cement scrap that will come out of the dismantling of the Obrigheim nuclear power plant, which is located in the town of the same name in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg. That scrap includes pipelines, plant sections, turbines, generators and the reactor pressure vessel. It also includes 10,000 tons of potentially radioactive material that will have to be submerged in an ultrasonic bath or processed with a sandblaster to reduce its radioactivity. The most dangerous work will be conducted by remote-controlled robots.
The demolition of a nuclear power plant is a technically complicated undertaking that can take between 15 and 20 years to complete. In the case of Obrigheim, dismantling the power plant will cost energy utility company EnBW, which owns the facility, an estimated €500 million ($684 million).