Nuclear power plants: Danger of longer maturities

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Nuclear power plants: Danger of longer maturities

Accident risk increases with plant age

Increase longer maturities for old nuclear power plants (NPP) to a new study by the Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND), the accident risk considerably. Are affected, according to the environmental organization especially the nuclear power plants Brunsbüttel, Isar 1, Philippsburg 1, Krümmel, Neckarwestheim, Unterweser, Biblis A and Biblis B.

Nuclear power plants: Danger of longer maturities

Nuclear power plant Brunsbuettel

© Alois Staudacher / GFDL

Not even if they were retrofitted - These reactors meet according to the BUND not modern safety standards. Aging effects such as material wear are impossible to control, and a massive security problem.

BUND calls for closure of the eight oldest nuclear power plants

"It is unconscionable that the CDU, CSU and FDP just for the oldest and most unsafe reactors call for longer maturities, which would no longer permitted from today's perspective, for security reasons. With its demand for a withdrawal from the nuclear phase-out, the Union parties and the FDP put the population an unacceptable risk, "said the BUND chairman Hubert Weiger. The BUND demanded the immediate closure of the eight oldest nuclear power plants to run without spending more recent nuclear longer.

The old reactors have, according to the BUND study partly only one third of the wall thickness of more modern reactors and had insufficient backup power on. This reactors as Biblis A and Brunsbuettel were significantly less well protected against external influences such as plane crashes or terrorist attacks or against short-circuits. Even with the old nuclear power plants is the probability of dangerous cracks and refrigerant losses higher. Retrofitting measures have not been able to increase safety.

Retrofits insufficient

"The safety standards of the old nuclear plant are defined during the planning and can not be improved. It is true that nuclear power plant operators to talk like them, that their reactors can be retrofitted to the latest safety standards. But the reality is different. And even if retrofits in individual cases are possible, they do not reach the state of science and technology, "says the physicist Oda Becker, who is responsible for the new study. "In general, the retrofits carried out very slowly and are partly erroneous. Often they will refrain, because they are the operators simply too expensive. "

Still largely unexplored and are difficult to control the risks posed by aging processes. Partly would flaws such as cracks, material fatigue or changes of electrical and other physical properties exist for quite some time and only discovered by chance. It must be assumed that at present not all existing errors in German nuclear power plants are known, would be particularly noticed until an accident.

Risk increases with plant age

Thorben Becker, BUND nuclear expert: "In German nuclear power plants a strong accumulation of age-related damage can be observed. Therefore, the risk increases by leaps and bounds with the operating age of nuclear power plants. When it comes to maturity extensions, there will be an increasing number of incidents such as leaks, cracks or shorts. "

Therefore old nuclear power plants require a particularly careful, specifically focused on the security of the power station management. But not only in the operated from Vattenfall plants Krümmel and Brunsbüttel incidents were caused by a lack of safety culture, but also in other existing plants, the Confederation. Especially in old nuclear power plants it is particularly dangerous when the operator put profit before safety. Therefore, the operator would have to be forced to take their old AKW quickly from the mains.

(Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND), 10.08.2009 - DLO)


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