“Cracks in the Pipes”
Doubts about the safety of the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant
Economy Minister Habeck only wants to reconnect the two nuclear power plants to the grid in the winter in the event of a power shortage. But the Isar 2 needs to be decided earlier due to maintenance. There should be cracks in the pipes on Neckarwestheim 2.
After operators at Bavaria’s Isar 2 nuclear power plant reported the need for repairs, nuclear opponents pointed to cracks in pipes at the Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plant in Baden-Württemberg. Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck had indeed planned both power plants for backup operation in the winter and announced a short-term decision depending on the supply situation. For Neckarwestheim, activists challenged the permit to operate the furnace from the state environment ministry. For years, large numbers of new dangerous cracks have been forming on thin-walled pipes, they warned.
The anti-nuclear energy organization “.aussendung” and the Bund der Bürgerinitiativen Mittlerer Neckar (BBMN) wrote about Neckarwestheim: “If only one of the approximately 16,000 pipes burst, ruptured or ruptured due to such a crack, it would already be a difficult situation dominant accident with loss of coolant liquids.” This could lead to a meltdown in the “cracking reactor”. The operator EnBW has not yet submitted evidence of measures that could rule out a leak from the pipes. The Mannheim administrative court will discuss approval of the Neckarwestheim operation on December 14, it said.
CSU demands a decision on Isar 2
The dispute escalated over the future of the Isar 2 nuclear power plant, which was also expected to have a reserve. CSU pushed for a quick decision on the race’s future. “The valves in question could be repaired – as has been the case so far regularly during revisions,” CSU environmental politician Anja Weisgerber told media group Funke’s newspaper. This requires “finally clear decisions through traffic lights”.
The valve leak would probably have to be repaired by October at the latest, as the reactor core would then no longer have sufficient reactivity to restart the nuclear power plant with the existing fuel cells. It also removes the possibility of first taking the plant off the grid at the end of December, as previously planned as part of the nuclear phase-out, and restarting it in January or February if needed. Without repairing the valves, safe operation would only be possible until the end of the year, and there would be no possibility of replacement operation for the rest of the winter.
Weisgerber again called for the continuation of the operation of all three German nuclear power plants, which are still in operation, at least until the end of 2024. This would also affect the Lingen nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony, which, according to Habeck’s proposals, should be definitively shut down at the end of December. On Tuesday, the Greens brought charges against Isar 2’s operator, Preussen Elektra, and Bavarian authorities for failing to report the valve leak earlier. Weisgerber dismissed this as a “sabotage tactic”.
Also FDP to extend the deadline
FDP politicians also pushed for the extension of the deadline. The decision to keep Isar 2 and the other two nuclear power plants running longer must be made quickly, “preferably this month,” FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai told “Bild” newspaper. FDP leader Christian Lindner also repeated his demand for a longer operating time of the nuclear power plant in the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.
German Environmental Aid executive Sascha Müller-Kraenner evaluated the leak at the Isar 2 nuclear power plant as evidence of the risk of further operation of the nuclear power plant. As “the only logical consequence”, he called on Twitter for a “comprehensive security check and a shutdown until then”.