BKW Energie AG

Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant BKW inspects reactor vessel

Bern (ots) - In keeping with its policy of safety first and based on the information currently available on the Doel 3 nuclear power plant in Belgium, BKW Inc. has decided to conduct ultrasonic tests on the reactor vessel at Mühleberg nuclear power plant (KKM). The test conditions have been defined by the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI). The work will be performed as part of the current revision.

Towards the middle of August, suspected manufacturing faults were reported in the base material of the pressure vessel of Reactor 3 at Belgium's Doel nuclear power plant. Since the KKM's pressure vessel was supplied by the same foundry, ENSI asked BKW to provide the manufacturing and test documentation. BKW duly submitted the documentation to ENSI on schedule, on 14 August 2012. According to the manufacturing documentation for the KKM, all forged and rolled parts of the pressure vessel were 100% tested during the manufacturing process, and no impermissible indications or anomalies in quality assurance and documentation were found. All the inspections were performed in accordance with the applicable requirements and confirmed by the independent Swiss Association of Pressure Vessel Owners (now the Swiss Association for Technical Inspections). The KKM's pressure vessel was in zero-defect condition when it went into operation. Although it was finished by the same foundry, there are important differences in the KKM pressure vessel - particularly concerning the base material supplier, wall strength, and date of production. According to present knowledge, the KKM's pressure vessel is not affected by the same type of manufacturing faults suspected at Doel 3.

To exclude any error in the manufacturing and inspection processes conducted at that time, BKW has decided to inspect a representative area of the pressure vessel's base material. ENSI was informed of the planned inspections, and the supervisory authority has defined the test conditions. The inspection will last for only a few days and result in a minor delay in restarting the KKM.


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