E.ON AG, Germany’s largest utility, was the first nuclear power plant operator to start the halt of a facility in the country after Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered safety checks at the country’s seven oldest reactors.
E.ON began lowering output at its 878-megawatt Isar 1 plant in the southern town of Essenbach at 12:10 p.m. local time yesterday, according to data published on the company’s website. The utility is operating the facility at 110 megawatts until the government orders it to switch the plant off, said Petra Uhlmann, a spokeswoman for E.ON’s nuclear power unit.
The nationwide safety review will run through June, Merkel told reporters in Berlin yesterday. Two of the seven plants are currently offline. The rest equals 5.2 gigawatts of the 20.7 gigawatts installed over Germany’s 17 reactors.
The seven plants are E.ON’s Isar 1 and Unterweser, RWE AG’s Biblis A and B, EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG’s Philippsburg 1 and Neckarwestheim 1 as well as Brunsbuettel, which is co-owned by E.ON and Vattenfall AB. Biblis B is offline for maintenance, while Brunsbuettel has been shut since June 2007 following a short circuit in a nearby power network.
RWE will halt Biblis A in coordination with a regulator in the state of Hesse, where the plant is located, and publish details of the stoppage on its website, said Manfred Lang, a company spokesman, today by phone. The utility can’t yet say when the plant will be taken offline, he said.
EnBW plans to shut down its Neckarwestheim 1 plant after an internal decision, Ulrich Schroeder, a company spokesman, said today, without specifying a timeframe. Stefan Mappus, the premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said the reactor will be taken off the grid permanently.
EnBW is waiting to discuss the operation of Philippsburg 1 with the government, Schroeder said, adding that the utility will halt the reactor if ordered to do so by the state.
Uhlmann, the E.ON spokeswoman, said the company is waiting for a state order to halt its Unterweser plant. Data the utility published on a website that tracks the stops and starts of its power stations showed it had reduced capacity at Isar 1 to zero.
GERMAN REACTORS TO HALT UNDER SAFETY CHECKS: UNIT OWNER MW OUT RETURN Isar 1 E.ON 770 March 15 Mid-June* Unterweser E.ON 1,345 Unknown** Unknown** Biblis A RWE 1,167 Unknown** Unknown** Biblis B RWE 1,227 Feb. 25 Unknown** Brunsbuettel Vfall/E.ON 771 July 18 ‘07 Unknown** Neckarwestheim 1 EnBW 840 Unknown*** No Return Philippsburg 1 EnBW 926 Unknown** Unknown**
* Company estimate ** Determined by state/federal government *** Determined by company and or state government