Expensive standstill

Maintenance operation of the shut down Hamm-Uentrop nuclear power
station costs five million euros a year. Local activists will hold a warning vigil on the Chernobyl anniversary.

HAMM · Tuesday is the 19th anniversary of the Chernobyl reactor disaster. The Hamm Citizens Initiative for Environmental protection (Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Hamm) is marking the occasion to hold a warning vigil at 5 p.m. that day in front of the shut down nuclear reactor at Uentrop. The thorium-high temperature reactor 300 (THTR) was shut down in 1989, no power has come from the plant since 1997. Yet the reactor is still causing costs. In a letter to the Bürgerinitiative the finance ministry of North-Rhine Westphalia state puts the "costs of maintenance operation of the secure lock-in" at about 5.1 million euros a year (nearly 14,000 euros a day).

In addition to the operation of the lock-in, the sum covers the cost of storing fuel and advance payments for a final solution (demolition). "Going by old state budgets we had assumed annual costs of 3.034 million euros for the so-called maintenance operation. These figures have to be revised clearly upwards," Horst Blume comments on the figure given by the ministry. Blume has headed the activist group for 30 years. On Tuesday he will report on "HTR export from Germany to everywhere in the world" at 7 p.m. in the Fuge-Laden on Widumstrasse.

Under a contract valid until 2009, the federation and the state share the costs. The so-called final storage advance payments "which the ministry put at 500 000 euros for 2003" are split equally between the federation, the state and the company responsible for the construction and maintenance of the secure lock-in of the THTR 300, Hochtemperatur-Kernkraftwerk GmbH (HKG).

Blume also received an answer to his question how much the reactor has cost since the decision to close it down in September 1989 to the end of last year: 391.8 million euros. These are split into federation 112.1 million, state 131.0 millions and the equity holders of the HGK 148.7 million. "Funding for the phase following 2009 will be agreed in good time between the federation, state and HKG, " says the letter from the ministry. The federation and the state had a "great interest in the equity owners of the HKG and the electricity industry carrying the highest possible share of the costs generated in future by the shut down THTR," the letter says.

The "secure lock-in" in Uentrop is licensed until 2027. The North-Rhine Westphalian ministry for transport, energy and planning wrote in another letter that by 2030 "according to several statements by the federation" there is to be a final storage facility in Germany. Until then the shut down reactor will remain the way it is. The energy ministry told the activists that it sees "no need for any decision in the foreseeable by the state government about continuation of the licensed secure lock-in or the further dissembly of the THTR plant, for which an available final storage would be an efficient measure."

(Translated by Diet Simon)

Bearbeitet am: 27.07.2005/ad

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