Krümmel Nuclear Power Plant

Krümmel Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant in Geesthacht near Hamburg, Germany. It was taken into operation in 1983 and is owned 50% by Vattenfall via Vattenfall Europe Nuclear Energy GmbH and 50% by E.ON, and operated by the Swedish Vattenfall. Its gross power production is 1,401 MW, using a boiling water reactor.

The reactor is the world's largest of its type in commercial operation. It is nearly identical to three other German nuclear reactors, namely Brunsbüttel Nuclear Power Plant (near Hamburg), Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant Block 1 and Isar Nuclear Power Plant Block 1, as well as the Austrian Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant, that never went into service.

Since July 4, 2009 the reactor is not running.

Controversies and accidents

Since 1986, an overly high number of cases of leukemia have been found in the area around the power plant. While Krümmel has been suspected, it has not been possible to establish the cause of the cases.

On June 28, 2007, a short circuit caused a fire in the transformer of the power plant and required the plant to be shut down. Power outages were experienced in the neighboring areas. The sequence of events caused the dismissal and resignation of several Vattenfall Europe AG employees.

On June 21, 2009, the Krümmel reactor was restarted for the first time since the 2007 fire, and the plant started to produce electricity again but was shutdown for the second time on July 4, 2009, only a few days after its two year long repair-period. The shutdown was caused by a short-circuit in a transformer that was very similar to what caused the June, 2007 fire. The reactor shut down normally and was not affected, but it will be another year before the plant can re-open again because new transformers will not be available until April or May 2010. The plant's general manager resigned. In a press conference July 9, Ernst Michael Züfle, head of the nuclear division of Vattenfall, acknowledged that there was damage to "perhaps a few fuel elements." Even before the shutdown, foreign bodies—sharp shards of metal from earlier work that should have been flushed—were found to have ended up, potentially dangerously, in the reactor and had, to some degree, been cleaned out. On July 7, Wulf Bernotat, CEO of E.on, wrote in a sharply worded letter to Vattenfall management in Sweden that his company was "appalled" by the handling of safety procedures at the plant, according to a lengthy report in Spiegel. The report went on to discuss how the accident could impact the German national debate about nuclear power plant license extensions.

Building Activity

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