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EnBW chooses fast tear-down method for nuclear plants
FRANKFURT Aug 2 (Reuters) - EnBW, Germany's No.3 utility, has chosen the process of direct dismantling for its nuclear power plants in Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg, the fastest option to decommission plants after Germany decided to exit nuclear power.
"We are taking note of our responsibility and not putting the issue of decommissioning work off any longer," said Joerg Michels, chairman of EnBW Kernkraft, which operates the group's nuclear power stations.
"With direct decommissioning, we are achieving clarity for the public, employees and our business partners."
Dismantling a nuclear plant until it has completely vanished can take several decades, depending on which technique is used, and Germany's nuclear-sceptic public has put pressure on its utilities to quickly decommission its plants following the decision to abandon nuclear power by 2022.
So-called nuclear entombment aims to seal off some radioactive material for decades to let radiation levels fall, making the process of dismantling easier at a later stage.
Using this technique, the process of fully decommissioning a plant can take more than 40 years, much longer than the process of direct dismantling, which usually takes about 10-12 years.
The four operators of nuclear plants in Germany - E.ON , RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall - have made a total of more than 30 billion euros ($37 billion) in provisions for the dismantling of the plants and the disposal of nuclear waste.
Germany's No.2 utility RWE estimates that dismantling its two reactors at Biblis will cost 1.5 billion euros, excluding storage costs for the nuclear waste. ($1 = 0.8132 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by James Jukwey)
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