Beznau Unit 1 Cleared For Restart

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) has cleared the Beznau power plant's Unit 1 reactor for a restart after utility company Axpo proved that aluminum oxide inclusions discovered in the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) did not sacrifice safety.

Beznau NPPThe unit, which is the world's oldest operating reactor, was idled in March 2015 when the anomalies in the reactor pressure vessel base material were found during ultra-sonic testing. According to Nuclear Engineering International, the questionable material was forged at Areva's Creusot Forge in France in the 1960s, when it was standard practice for aluminum to be incorporated into the casting process to assist with oxygen bonding.

This left it up to Axpo to test similar material to prove to the regulator that the RPV was safe. However, sufficient quantity of the material could not be located, forcing Axpo to re-create the original casting and test the new material. This was done at a forge in Britain.

ENSI was satisfied with the results. “As anticipated, subsequent analysis found that this ring exhibited the same material properties as the existing ring. With the replica, it was possible to experimentally verify the source of the ultra-sonic detections,” ENSI said. The testing of the new material found there were no safety compromises to concern the operator or the public.

“The safety case corroborates earlier assessments and investigations and once again validates the existing safety margin for the safe operation of the plant for 60 years,” ENSI said.

The restart is expected to take place within the next two weeks.

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  • Anonymous

    The world is in a severe climate crisis due to worldwide emissions of too much CO2. So what do we highly intelligent humans do? Shut down our more effective and large producers of carbon free electricity like nuclear. We just like wind and solar so much better, even though it ends up producing very little electricity and forces us to burn gas, coal and other earth-destroying fossil fuels. (Check on the German nuclear shutdown).

    Do humans have a death wish? I’m beginning to think so. James Lovelock the world’s best earth scientist has for years been begging us to fight global destruction through switching to nuclear power, even volunteering to have all UK unused fuel (“waste”)buried in his back yard to demonstrate its safety.  We want to go with the cheaper renewables that only make electricity four hours per day in sunlight, or make it when there’s wind. However new wind generators and solar panels wear out after 20 years and billions must be spent again for new ones. Nuclear plants may last a hundred years or more. We are still able to operate the first ones built, so we’re not sure how long these enormous generators of electricity will last.  The older reactors are usually paid off, so they’re almost making electricity at no cost!

    Germany panicked immediately when the tsunami stopped Fukushima reactors. They should have held off. U.N. Experts finally reported not a single person was harmed by the reactor incidents and they reported the released radiation won’t hurt anyone. (Anti nuclear fanatics were livid and started putting out misleading propaganda to confuse the issue. ) Read the U. N. UNSCEAR group’s report youeself.