New malfunction reported at deactivated N.German nuclear plant

Friday, February 22, 2008

A malfunctioning transformer led to an unintentional shutdown of the emergency power system of an offline nuclear plant in northern Germany which had been the scene of numerous glitches in the past, press reports said Thursday.

The cause of the breakdown was a defect electronic card but it did not have any impact on the operations of the plant, said the operator of the Brunsbuettel nuclear reactor which has been deactivated since the summer of 2007.

Germany's nuclear power plants have reported 944 incidents between the period of early 2000 and late 2006, according to statistics released by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS).

Meanwhile the number of registered breakdowns in German nuclear power plants since 1993 stand at 1,945.

The latest figures point to the high number of incidents in especially older nuclear power plants.

Topping the list are two nuclear power facilities, Brunsbuettel and Neckarwestheim both of which were built in 1976.

Brunsbuettel reported 437 and Neckarwestheim 1 registered 408 mishaps.

"Older nuclear reactors are definitely more vulnerable than younger ones," BfS spokesman Joachim Gross was quoted saying.

One-third of German atomic reactors are reportedly shut down because of either technical problems, repair work or system check-ups.

German nuclear power plants account for 26 percent of the nation's energy consumption.

Faced with a gradual phase-out by 2021, Germany's nuclear reactors are still working at full strength, having raised their electricity production in 2006.

German atomic power plants generated 167.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity last year, up from 163 billion kilowatt hours in 2005. --IRNA

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