E.ON is suspending the operation of its oldest nuclear power station Isar-1 in southern Germany. Preparations have already been started to take the reactor into a safe non-operational condition.
Although decommissioning had already been planned its clear the decision was made in light of the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant. Johannes Teyssen, E.On’s Chief Executive said: “We understand the German public’s concern and the political debate on the developments in Japan. At present there are no doubts at all about the comprehensive safety of our nuclear plants, including Isar-1. But we will participate actively in the necessary analysis and discussion of the lessons taught by, and conclusions to be drawn from, the events in Japan.”
The plant which was built in the early 70s is not part of a series of power stations affected by a three month German moratorium on nuclear extension announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German government seems to be giving nuclear the cold shoulder in light of impending elections and fears of public disquiet on the whole issue.
But Mr Teyssen said taking Isar-1 off the grid was important in the wider nuclear debate: “Even though the nuclear power station Isar-1is not directly affected by the moratorium at the current time, we have decided to suspend the operation of E.ON’s oldest reactor for the duration of the moratorium. We want to make it easier, not least for the relevant Bavarian supervisory authorities, to perform an open and critical assessment.”
He also backed the moratorium, “We will fully support these investigations with our nuclear knowhow and our wide-ranging operating experience,” Mr. Teyssen added.
As the developing scale of the problems in Japan have wider knock-ons for the global nuclear industry, Mr Teyssen said E.On was already offering assistance. “Our deep sympathy goes to the people affected by the earthquake and the dramatic events connected with the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan”