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Fresh fuel from Greifswald: Lost & found

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#465
24/01/1997
Article

(January 24, 1997) After the nuclear power plant near Greifswald in the former Eastern Germany had been shut down during the unification, there were still 271 fresh fuel assemblies left.

(465.4626) WISE Amsterdam - In May and October last year, they were brought for defabrication to a Framatome Cogema Fuels site in Lynchburg, U.S. The fuel contains 1.6 percent of Uranium-235 and is defabricated for Nukem, whose parent RWE also owns the inheritor of the Greifswald power station, Energiewerke Nord (EWN).

With the first transport in May, 180 assemblies were shipped. As late as November 13, a spokesman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported an "accounting anomaly". One of the assemblies was missing.

The EWN was asked to check whether it could find the lost assembly. On November 14, a senior German official reported that the assembly had been found in one of the returned containers.

The EWN claims to have committed no fault, as they had simply sent the fuel to the U.S. Anyway the returned cargo weighed about 120 kg more than it should - a fact that was recognized neither by the EWN nor anywhere in the U.S.

A German official investigator said that since the fresh fuel emits no above-background radiation, the assembly could not have been detected by routine radiation checks.

Sources:

  • Nuclear Fuel, 18 November 1996
  • Die Tageszeitung (FRG), 20 November 1996

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