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Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant
Decommissioning in 2019
Bern (ots) - Over the past few months BKW Inc. has been examining various scenarios concerning the future of Mühleberg nuclear power plant (KKM) and its continued operation. It has now decided to continue operating the KKM until 2019, in compliance with all safety requirements, following which the plant will be taken off the grid. This decision was made with due consideration to all the known technical, economic, regulatory and political aspects. The decision not to invest in the plant's long-term operation significantly reduces the business risk and will facilitate stronger hydro and wind power expansion in Switzerland and abroad, as well as boosting investments in new innovative products and services.
BKW plans to implement various upgrade projects over the KKM's remaining six years of operation. In total, around CHF 200 million will be invested in the plant's operation and maintenance, of which some CHF 15 million is earmarked for extraordinary upgrade measures. These include investments in measures to improve the cooling water supply and the cooling system for the fuel element storage pool. In implementing these measures, BKW is not only complying with the legal safety requirements but also exceeding the safety margin stipulated by the Federal Nuclear Inspectorate (ENSI). ENSI will review the upgrade projects following this decision.
For BKW, investing in the plant's long-term operation would have entailed high costs, the amortisation of which would have been too uncertain given the prevailing economic, regulatory and political conditions. In the medium term BKW also believes that further (as yet indefinable and unquantifiable) technical, economic and political uncertainties could increase the economic risks of long-term operation. Moreover, the decision against long-term operation will free up financial resources and allow BKW to invest in new, alternative production capacities as well as innovative products and energy services in line with its corporate strategy.
Due to the fact that the plant's operating life is now shorter than originally projected, BKW expects that the value of the KKM's plant assets will need to be adjusted in an extraordinary impairment which is likely to be in the high double-digit millions range. At the end of the year an impairment test will be carried out based on the latest assumptions. Due to the expected impairment on the KKM's assets, BKW expects to close 2013 with a lower operating result and lower annual result than the figures reported for the previous year.
All KKM staff will continue to be employed at the plant until operations cease in 2019. No operational redundancies are planned. The main objective is to retain the KKM's specialists and technical experts for the remainder of the plant's operating life as well as for the post-operation and decommissioning phases.
Although the plant is an important pillar of BKW's electricity production facilities, BKW will not lose its strategic long position. BKW will still be able to honour its basic provision obligations for customers and to supply its sales partners with Swiss BKW electricity even after the KKM has been decommissioned. At the same time the company will further expand its already substantial hydro and wind power portfolio in Switzerland and abroad.
Thanks to its new corporate strategy, BKW is well-equipped to meet the challenging market conditions. In future, economic losses in the conventional energy business can be offset by new, innovative business models and thanks to the efficiency programmes already in place. The realignment will enable BKW to evolve even more quickly and consistently to become a leading energy services provider.
The statements contained in this press release constitute expectations and forward-looking statements. Because these statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual future results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by the expectations and statements. This media release is issued in German, French, English and Italian. The German version is authoritative.
Invitation to Media Conference
BKW invites all interested media representatives to a media conference on this topic. Chairman Urs Gasche and BKW CEO Dr. Suzanne Thoma will present the rationale behind this decision. The media conference will take place today, 30 October 2013, from 10:00 to 11:30, in the Restaurant "Zum Äusseren Stand", Zeughausgasse 17, 3011 Berne. The documents will be posted on the BKW Energie AG website, www.bkw.ch at 11:00.
Phone 058 477 51 07