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Old 2022-06-01, 19:18   #123
MisterBitcoin's Avatar
"Nuri, the dragon :P"
Jul 2016
Good old Germany

863 Posts

I want to somewhat "revive" this thread and share a few things I have encountered in my job life so far; well I am still pretty young (26 right now) and thus work in an "dying" nuclear industry. But thats not entirely true however.

I started working in Nuclear Power Plants in the year 2017 via my old employer; that time only outside and helped replacing components inside the cooling tower. Shortly later I worked 4 months inside the fuel assembly factory near Lingen. (Which for obvious reasons is all I can say about it). Until then I wasn´t certain if Nuclear Power is that save, I had some concerns against it.

This changed when I started working at Muelheim-Kaerlich, as some of you might now is a more or less failed NPP. Well lets say the local government screwed up as the plant was build 70m away as written down in the permits, this wasnt noticed during construction and "hot testing", but after 13 months it was shut down for good.
I worked inside the containment building and part of my job was to bring the entire waste from the 2 steam boilers towards the environment. Within two years a majority of the 1.600 MG was checked for contamination and recieved a permit to re-use it. ~400 MG where either nuclear waste or hard to measure (too much surface that cant be checked for activation/contamination.)
During the entire time I slowly got used to the entire plant and its massive size, plus the magnitude of safety systems that are available. The pure assumption that a major plane could crash into the reactor building to damage important components is quite vague in my view, knowing how much steel and concrete is protecting it. I would say a hit to the cooling tower is much more efficient and would economically destroy the plant (Regardless if its a nuclear, or coal/whatever plant).

In late 2020 I finally switched over to an other company and just recently visited the NPP Phillipsburg II where I filled 4 Castors with used nuclear fuel. The Castor is dry storage cask for used fuel and it was quite an honor to process any significant step. Once again I can say the safety requirements are very high, the risk of an failure is extremely low but not impossible.

Of course I can go into details, but try to break an 110 ton heavy cask or try to move it. And the IAEA is watching every little move.

That brings me over to the next power station where I am right now, in a few days I will help un- and reloading one of Germanys Reactors for the last time. Our Government decided to leave nuclear power for good and it is sad that they are still not reconsidering an possible comeback with modern technologies.

What brings the future, well lot of work. Later this year I might get specialized, handling of highly activated components inside hot cells via manipulators. Though that's only a maybe now.
I got asked today if I would be interested into operating wire saws as I already did that in 2019/2020.

Both sounds great to me and might mean I can work outside of Germany or even outside of Europe; so lets see what will happen soon.

BTW: Many nations are reconsidering Nuclear power, what are your thoughts about that. So far I can name:

France (yeah, obvious. 6 new EPR´s and maybe a few small modular reactors)
Netherlands (1/2 new units)
Belgium (Wanted to phase out, but stopped it. Is also building new research reactors such as MHYRRA)
UK (28 GWh of nuclear power until 2050; which is a damn lot)
and any other I forgot.
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