RWE to shut down Biblis A reactor for maintenance during four months in 2009

Thursday, July 10, 2008

FRANKFURT (Thomson Financial) - RWE AG. plans to shut down its Biblis A reactor for maintenance during the four months to September 2009, Mannheimer Morgen reported, citing the reactor's technical director Juergen Haag.

This would allow RWE to operate the reactor, which is Germany's oldest, until after the German parliamentary elections in autumn that year.

German legislation passed in 2002 obliges utilities to shut down nuclear power plants after they have been in operation for an average of 32 years and forbids the construction of new plants.

Each reactor has been allocated a maximum volume of power it can produce, although utilities are allowed to transfer power from one reactor to another.

High energy prices have sparked a debate in Germany about whether the country should continue phasing out nuclear energy.

Under current legislation, RWE is required to decommission Biblis A this year. It is still operating as it did not tap into its allocated power volumes for some 18 months between autumn 2006 and spring 2008, when it was shut down for technical issues.

Handelsblatt in March reported that RWE, Germany's largest utility in terms of power generation capacities, plans a lengthy maintenance period on Biblis A in hopes that a change of government in 2009 will lead to the abandoning of plans to exit nuclear energy.

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