DECOMMISSIONING OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES IN GERMANY - STATUS AT BMBF SITES Page: 4 of 5
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WM'02 Conference, February 24-28, 2002, Tucson, AZ- pg. 4
even tend to overlook the reduced nuclear inventory and, consequently, the reduced hazard potential of a given
dismantling project after the fuel has been removed. Current regulations seem to offer sufficient maneuverability
so that adjustments, long overdue, will better serve the real needs of decommissioning projects.
Concerning labor as an important cost factor, utility companies strongly rely on their own staff and in-house
capabilities. For the national research centers, on the other hand, which have tended to hire outside contractors,
ways should be found which enable them to employ their own personnel for onsite decommissioning projects.
The costs for the individual projects in Table I add up to about E 3 billion, E 2 billion of which are BMBF's share.
Closure of the Asse-mine: This mine will be decommissioned and sealed in a 2-step process. First, at an estimated
cost of more than E 150 Mill the large rooms excavated during the mining phase prior to 1964 will be backfilled
with salt from the neighboring salt dump at Ronnenberg (near Hanover). This will last until 2004 and aims at in-
creasing the stability of the mine. By this time all R&D activities in the Asse which have been carried out concur-
rently with the exploration of the Gorleben site will be terminated. In a second step, scheduled for the period from
2004 until about 2013, remaining cavities will be backfilled and the shafts will be sealed.
Prototype reactors THTR-300 and SNR-300: The purpose of the 300 MWe prototype reactor THTR-300 was to
demonstrate the viability of pebble bed technology, a high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor featuring spherical
graphite fuel elements containing coated fuel particles. After three years of satisfactory performance the comp e-
tent authority of the State (Northrhine-Westfalia) refused to issue the license to resume operation. Safe enclosure
has been achieved in early 1997 and will be up for review 20 years later.
The SNR-300 prototype fast breeder reactor was completed but never took up operation. The entire project came
to an end in 1991 and the property was sold to a private investor in 1995. The 205 fuel assemblies are stored in
Hanau and Dounreay and the electric utility company RWE has assumed the responsibility for the fuel.
Facilities at Research Center Juelich: In the heyday of advanced reactor development, responsibility for the
accompanying R&D was split among the research centers. While Karlsruhe pursued fast breeder R&D, Juelich
focused on the high-temperature, gas-cooled pebble bed reactor line. The AVR was the experimental facility that
preceded the THTR-300. It was operated successfully for 20 years until its final shutdown in 1988. It is now
Juelich's largest decommissioning project. Safe enclosure will be attained in 2003. Due to the longevity of the
fission products involved, e.g. Sr-90, long-term safe enclosure is deemed critical by some experts. Further negotia-
tions will show whether complete dismantling can be financed.
In addition to the AVR, decommissioning projects at Juelich include the Merlin reactor (FRJ-I) and the so-called
fuel cell laboratory. Some E 30 Mill of federal funds will have to be spent for these two projects.
Decommissioning projects at Research Center Karlsruhe: Five reactors and one reprocessing facility are being
decommissioned in Karlsruhe. The KNK-reactor, the counterpart to Juelich's AVR, was run with two reactor
cores; one in which safe handling of Na-coolant was demonstrated, while the second was a "fast" core. The op-
eration of this second core was conceived to pave the way for the SNR-300.
After shutdown in 1991, the sodium and the fuel assemblies had to be removed in a speedy manner in order to
make use of CEA's fuel reprocessing service at Marcoule. The contaminated sodium has been treated in a joint
effort with UKAEA. The dismantling work advances according to schedule, eventually leading to "green field" in
FR-2 was Germany's first homemade reactor after World War II, running on D20 and, in a later phase, slightly
enriched uranium. It was used as a neutron source for scientific purposes. After shutdown in 1981, decommis-
sioning work was directed towards safe enclosure, a stage which was finally reached at the end of 1996. An exh i-
bition in the remaining reactor building is open to the public since 1997, featuring showpieces which tell the story
of Karlsruhe' s contribution to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The multi-purpose research reactor MZFR was a heavy-water reactor fueled with slightly enriched uranium. It
served, among other things, as a prototype for the 340-MWe Atucha power plant in Argentina. The decommis-
sioning goal and schedule correspond to those of KNK, in other words, "green field" should be accomplished in
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Papp, R. & Komorowski, K. DECOMMISSIONING OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES IN GERMANY - STATUS AT BMBF SITES, article, February 25, 2002; Tucson, Arizona. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782025/m1/4/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.