Fessenheim nuclear power plant parts sail through the Dutch waterways

Fessenheim nuclear power plant parts sail through the Dutch waterways

During the weekend large parts of the former French nuclear power plant will sail through the Dutch inland waterways. Six parts of the former Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant owned by EDF (Électricité de France) are heading on their way to Studsvik in Sweden for further processing. 

The Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) is monitoring the transport of the parts through the Netherlands during December 4 and 5, after overseeing the loading in Fessenheim, France. This is due to the fact that parts contain light radioactive material. Normally, radioactive material travels by rail or road. This is not possible due to the size of these parts.

The parts being transported include pieces of former steam generators, heat exchangers used in nuclear power plants to convert water into steam, which is then used to generate electricity. This is the first in a series of three transports of parts from the facility that has been decommissioned in 2020. The remaining two batches of parts will be transported in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

The size of the parts means they cannot be transported to a French seaport by road, rail or French inland waterways. For this reason, the transport will pass along the Rhine, through France, Germany and through the Dutch, Belgian and French waterways to the port of Dunkirk.

The following stage will take the parts from Dunkirk by sea to Studsvik, Sweden. There, the parts will be processed by an EDF unit specialising in processing radioactive materials. During the process radioactive material will be separated from the reusable materials.

The French authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucleaire) supervises the preparation and execution of the transport in France. ANVS, like a number of other supervisory authorities involved, joined ASN in preparing the transport by barge.

Each authority is responsible for monitoring its territory. EDF has received permission from the ANVS to transport these parts over Dutch inland waterways. The supervisors have made the necessary preparations for this transport with EDF in recent months.

Author: Adnan Bajic

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