Bern (ots) - BKW representatives submitted the decommissioning application to the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications on 18 December 2015. BKW has therefore initiated the process aimed at definitively shutting down and decommissioning a nuclear power plant for the first time in Switzerland. Following a completeness check by the authorities, the documents will be put forward for public consultation in spring 2016.
"Today we have reached an important milestone in the path to decommissioning the Mühleberg nuclear power plant (KKM). We are now embarking on the decommissioning process, which is set to last several years." These were the words of Hermann Ineichen, Head of Production and Member of the BKW Executive Board, as he handed over the decommissioning application to Franz Schnider, Vice Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) in Ittigen. The decommissioning of KKM is BKW's biggest project since the nuclear power plant was built over 40 years ago.
Besides the legal applications, the first decommissioning application for a nuclear power plant in Switzerland comprises the main report - the decommissioning project - which details the project's conceptual framework. In addition, there are three sub-reports: accident analyses and emergency protection measures, the environmental impact report and the security report.
BKW's top priority is to ensure the same level of safety and efficiency during the decommissioning and shutdown as during power operation. The safety of the population and staff and protection of the environment will remain key concerns at all times during the decommissioning and waste disposal process.
BKW plans to permanently shut down power operations at KKM by December 2019 at the latest, provided the necessary legal framework is in place. For this reason BKW has worked hard to press ahead with the decommissioning project and has compiled and submitted the necessary documents in good time. This is also because experience from abroad shows that legal processes are more likely to considerably delay the decommissioning process than technical challenges. By choosing this approach, BKW has consciously taken account of the time factor.
The decommissioning application will be checked for completeness by the authorities in the coming months. Public consultation of the documents is due to start at the beginning of April 2016 and will last one month. During this time, detailed information on the content will be provided to the local population at information events and to the public via the media. BKW is also engaged in active dialogue with local and regional political representatives and interest groups.
BKW expects the decommissioning order in mid-2018. This should ensure that any potential appeal procedures can be finalised before the shutdown.
"The decommissioning application we submitted is an important step for BKW on its journey to the energy future ", says CEO Suzanne Thoma. Find out more in the video interview (in German and French only) here:http://www.bkw.ch/stilllegungsgesuch