Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant


Active reactors ( gross ):

The nuclear power plant Fessenheim (French Centrale Nucléaire de Fessenheim, abbreviation FSH ) is a French nuclear facility from the 1970s, consisting of two pressurized water reactors; it is the oldest and least powerful still operating in French nuclear power plant.

The power plant is located less than two kilometers southeast of the town Fessenheim ( Haut-Rhin/Oberelsass ) on the side of the river channel ( Grand Canal d' Alsace), about one kilometer from the border to Germany, about each just under 25 miles from the towns of Colmar and Mulhouse ( F ) and Freiburg (D).

On September 14, 2012, the French President François Hollande announced that the nuclear power plant should be closed at the end of 2016. He stressed that all jobs should be preserved. In the fall of 2012, he named a " decommissioning officer ".

  • 2.5.1 Block I
  • 2.5.2 Block II
  • 4.1 Storage and spent fuel pools for fuel rods
  • 4.2 Containment
  • 4.3 earthquake
  • 4.4 foundation
  • 4.5 groundwater
  • 4.6 Flooding
  • 4.7 overheating
  • 5.1 plane crashes
  • 5.2 liability
  • 5.3 cooling reactor and fuel storage
  • 5.4 Germany 5.4.1 Iodine tablets
  • 5.4.2 Emergency Response Booklet
  • 6.1 2009
  • 6.2 2010
  • 6.3 2011
  • 6.4 2012
  • 7.1 Civic Engagement
  • 7.2 Official receivables ( selection)


In 1962, the EDF for the first time the construction of a nuclear power plant in Fessenheim. The German utility RWE showed it briefly interested, but looked in favor of the construction of a nuclear power plant in Biblis by a co. The Siemens and Babcock together involved in the project and proposed a graphite-moderated gas-cooled reactor before, similar to the French models, with an output of 500 MW and natural uranium as fuel. The Groupement Atomique Alsacienne Atlantique ( GAAA ) changed the type of reactor and slightly increased the capacity to 750 MW. Since, however, the French government now focused on light water reactors manufactured by U.S. company Westinghouse, no government subsidies for the plant were provided. However, one wanted to try to build without these aids.

In 1967 a building permit was issued for both reactors, but in 1969 canceled by EdF in favor of light-water reactors. One aspect of this are the production costs, which could not compete with those of the light-water reactors. Sure, Siemens laid before a subsequent offering the planning of light water reactors, however, it was decided to France for the models of Westinghouse.


Since 1977, two pressurized water reactors, each with 880 megawatts of electric power net in operation. Fessenheim is the oldest still operating nuclear power plant in France. Since the commissioning of over 350 TWh of electricity were generated (as of 2010 ).


The EDF include 67.5 % of the plant. Energie Baden- Württemberg ( EnBW) (formerly Badenwerke ) holds 17.5 % stake. The share includes a 17.5% interest in the operating and investment costs and in turn obtaining 17.5% of electricity production ( so -called "virtual power plant disc "). 2009 and 2010, the subscription rights to Fessenheim were exchanged for electricity procurement rights from other German power plants (in the context of a so-called swaps) for antitrust or technical reasons. 17.5 % of the fixed and variable, so the investment, operation, retrofitting and repair costs of the power plant are, however, still at EnBW.

The remaining 15 % of shares are held by a consortium of three Swiss companies; with 5 % these are the Swiss energy companies Alpiq, Axpo and BKW FMB Energy (until 1996: BKW, Bernese power plants).


According to the Mayor of the municipality Fessenheim April 2012, the EDF leads annually from trade taxes in the amount of 5.5 million euros; the reigning nuclear power plant director calls an amount of 400 million euros as annual profit.



The permitted annual limit values ​​for the discharge of radioactive gases from the ongoing operation of the nuclear power plant, into the atmosphere for tritium and noble gases, according to EDF in 1480 Terabecquerel ( TBq, a TBq = one trillion Bq); for iodine and other elements at 111 gigabecquerels (GBq, a GBq = one billion Bq). Up to 74 TBq of tritium and 925 GBq iodine and other elements in the side of the river channel per year may be delivered via wastewater. 2009, the nuclear power plant has made good 24 TBq of tritium into the Rhine according to the Badische Zeitung.

Heat load

The legal limit for the heating of the Rhine side channel from the cooling water to the reactors is at 4 K; the maximum value for the underflow to 30 ° C. The nuclear power plant load during its operation the Rhine with a waste heat from estimated up to 3,622 MW. It was therefore up to the German nuclear phase-out in 2011 after the nuclear power plants Biblis and Philip Castle 's third largest maximum heat load on the Rhine. In the hot summer of 2003 there was an additional increase in the water temperature of the Rhine side channel below the cooling water discharge of up to 1.7 ° C. Unlike other power plants is still missing recooling possibility of cooling water required for the operation by means of a cooling tower.


Particularly through the use of highly radioactive material is in operation and also released in the nuclear radiation later.

Ten years inspections

For each reactor block the nuclear power plant every ten years must provide proof of safety that the plants are equipped with a functioning technology and comply with current safety requirements.

Block I

Block I was shut down between October 2009 and March 2010 for its third ten-year revision. In July 2011, the French Nuclear ASN confirmed the possibility of term extension of the reactor block 1 for another ten years. This would require up to 30 June 2013, in addition to about 40 other conditions, the bottom plate of the reactor to be strengthened in order to increase their security against melting through the reactor core and up to 31 December 2012, a device to be installed, which is also the permanent removal of the residual heat guaranteed in case of failure of the cooling systems. The final decision should be first, then hit in the fall at the end of the year after completion of the two parts of the EU-wide stress test, nuclear power plants by the French Government.

The reactor I was approached in the night of 6 to 7 November 2011.

Block II

Block II is down for his third 10 - year review on 16 April 2011: for the revision of several thousand temporary workers were employed. The costs amounted to 200 million euros: mainly three steam generators were replaced; also carried out tests on the welds and performed a pressure test on the containment. On March 6, 2012 Block II was again " ramped up ".

Data of the reactor units

The nuclear power plant Fessenheim consists of two blocks:

The reactor pressure vessel has a diameter of 3.988 m, a height of 12,332 m, and has a wall thickness of 200 mm. It is made of steel grade SA -508 grade three and is designed for a pressure of 172.4 bar designed at a temperature of 343 ° C.


The EU introduced in 2011/12 a stress test for nuclear power plants by: In this study ( in the EU are at 68 nuclear sites 134 reactors: of which 24 sites were tested personally ) was also the NPP Fessenheim of foreign nuclear experts in a so-called peer review visited. The results were announced in October 2012. The nuclear power plant Fessenheim are thereby certifies the following defects, among other things:

  • The seismic safety of the nuclear power station at Fessenheim is lower than in all German nuclear power plants.
  • In the event of flooding, that is so strong that it reaches one million years occurs only every 100,000, the loss of key safety-related equipment is possible.
  • Due to the positioning of the safety systems far below the level of the Rhine channel is risk of flooding for the entire plant site.
  • That the centrally important safety features, both of the secondary-side heat dissipation, as well as the primary side refrigerant complement of only one container per block, as particularly relevant risk.

In this stress test Fessenheim from cuts, according to press under the French power plants, despite these shortcomings, one of the safest. As a result, had to be made in Fessenheim additional security measures. These extend according to the French nuclear regulatory life of the two reactors for another 10 years.

60 anti-nuclear activists from Greenpeace came on 18 March 2014, a self-constructed bridge by a truck container from over the barbed wire fence on the plant grounds and thus throwing more security questions. On the part of the French authorities - from Colmar prefect Stephane Bouillon was called - it was alleged that there had existed at any time a security risk. Demonstrators were only climbed onto the roof of the reactor building, an access to the premises they had not had.

Storage and spent fuel pools for fuel rods

In July 2011, the French Nuclear announced that they confront a lifetime extension of nuclear power plant positive: however, among others, under the condition that additional security arrangements for the storage and cooling ponds are made ​​because there was uncertainty as to whether the affected in the event of a dam failure cooling systems would withstand.


The review of the safety vessel was loud carried out in the course of the report in June 2010 tightness tests that the measured leakage value (see tightness) is within the allowed limits. In general, however, the container by the outdated design a lower volume than modern containment. By default, the containment holds a pressure of 3.73 bar was. The space within the containment has a height of 53.5 meters and a diameter of 39 meters.


The management of the nuclear power plant considered the so-called Basel earthquake of the year 1356 as a reference earthquake for the interpretation of seismic safety of the nuclear power plant. It is considered the strongest historically documented earthquakes in Central Europe as well as the oldest historical earthquake event north of the Alps. In the region of Basel (CH) there were repeated stronger earthquake. The strength of the Basel earthquake is now estimated on the basis of historical records to a thickness between 9 and 10 on the MSK scale and about 6.2 to 6.7 to the Richter scale.

The Switzerland is doing in studies to date of the projected possibility of the occurrence of an earthquake of intensity 6.0 to 6.5 every 100 and one of the strength of 6.5 to 7.0 all years from 1000 to 3000; the vibrations were doing but because of the shorter distance violent than, say, in the quake of magnitude nine before Fukushima. Switzerland is required for its nuclear power plants, the interpretation of the seismic safety at least a quake of magnitude 7; after a major earthquake in Japan in 2007, the earthquake risk in Switzerland under the so -called study Pegasos new, it rated twice as high as before.

The Upper Rhine Valley is a seismically active area, the reactors at the nuclear power plant located on the edge of a in Germany according to DIN 4149 classified with the highest level three seismic hazard zone or in one of the with the country's second highest level four classified zones of the French seismic risk areas. According to the operator of the power plant is designed for a quake as 6.7 magnitude ( Richter scale ). The Tertiary filling of the Rhine Graben is similar to that of loose rock.

In spring 2011, the president of the local security committee ( CLIS ) announced a new opinion on the seismic safety of the power plant, starting from an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale; In this case, to the possible responses are examined for loss of the coolant circuits. The current president of the administrative district of Freiburg, Julian Wuertenberger gave to the Chairman of the CLIS more specific questions to the expert report:

  • Position of the reference earthquake: directly under the nuclear power plant or somewhere else?
  • Considering also local, possibly seismically active faults?
  • Checking for possible effects on buildings and facilities in the area of ​​nuclear power plant, the dam and the ( neighboring ) hydroelectric power plants?

The French Institute for Nuclear Safety ( IRSN ), called in the fall after the evaluation of information 80 French nuclear plant operators rapid improvements of some plants, as well as a reassessment of the seismic safety of the nuclear power plant at Fessenheim.


The foundation of the system has a thickness of 1.5 meters. Thus, this is the thinnest foundation of all French nuclear power plants. For comparison, the bottom plates of an earthquake of magnitude 9 stricken Japanese nuclear power plants in Fukushima have a thickness of seven meters. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety ( IRSN ) recommended in June 2011 to reinforce the bottom plate of the reactor. As part of the recommendation for a possible further ten year operating extension, which was granted in early July 2011, highlighting the French regulatory authority, among other things, the demand that the foundation is to increase to 30 June 2013 to make it absorb the corium in a meltdown or within could keep the containment.

A flooding of the nuclear power plant could have radioactive contamination of the Rhine result with simultaneous breakage or melting through the bottom plate.


The power plant is located on the Upper Rhine Aquifer, one of the largest sources of drinking water in Europe.


The power plant is inadequately protected against flooding from the adjacent channel at a dam failure. The water of the canal is used for cooling. The fastening of the channel is subject to seismic risks.


In the hot summer of 2003 the reactor building for trouble-free operation had to be sprayed from the outside with water to avoid overheating and a subsequent shutdown ( the shutdown would have occurred when the temperature reached 50 ° C, it reached 48.5 ° C).

Emergency Preparedness

Plane crashes

The security against a plane crash corresponds according to the operators French average. About 32 kilometers south- south-west of the power plant is the Euro Airport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg with about 80,000 movements a year.


The owner shall be liable according to the Paris Nuclear Liability Convention and the "Brussels Supplementary Convention " even for the consequences of a " nuclear incident "; he can not, for example, to pass on to a supplier such liability. The national liability rules apply without regard to the nationality, domicile or residence.

Under the present (September 2011) applicable French legislation, the operator is liable in such an event for a total loss up to an amount of 91.5 million euros; considered to further compensation options, one comes to a total compensation amount of 330 million euro; after the ratification of the Treaty on European Union states signed in 2004 by Germany and France, " Audit Logs " on nuclear liability conventions mentioned above, a total amount of compensation of 1.5 billion euros for damages resulting due to a nuclear accident in a French nuclear facility. About the § 38 of the German Atomic Energy Act further EUR 2.5 billion compensation funds can be provided. (compared to mid-April 2011, was reckoned on the follow costs of nuclear accidents at Fukushima to up to 130 billion euros ).

Cooling the reactor and fuel storage

For a complete failure of Kühlwasservorsorgung from the Rhine side channel the heat of reaction is to be removed, according to the EDF by steam discharge via existing steam generators, the needed quantities of water stood in containers available, the replacement of the waste through the steam discharge water loss could be ensured through a groundwater well. Even for a failure of the cooling of the spent fuel pool stood ready sufficient water reserves.


The date ( November 2013 ) valid civil protection concept includes the evacuation of a " central zone " of two km radius around the nuclear power plant within six hours; for evacuation of a so-called "extended area " with a radius of ten kilometers are available 24 hours provided, it would be about 50,000 people affected.

In the wake of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, present on the German side emergency plans have been revised by the civil protection authority of the Government Presidium Freiburg in the spring of 2011: the evacuation zone should be expanded from the current 10 to 25 km; so that they would affect approximately 453,000 people. In November 2013, this concept was not yet implemented.

Iodine tablets

In September 2009, the Interior Ministry of Baden- Württemberg held in response to a request of the Member of Parliament Marianne Wonnay out that all city and counties of the district of Freiburg as well as parts of the district of Karlsruhe and the administrative district of Tübingen in the so-called " remote area " ( = less than 100 km from the nuclear power plant ) are to be stored and that the " event of a fault to the output provided potassium iodide " in Immendingen (80 km east of Freiburg ).

Emergency Response Booklet

The government of Freiburg has issued a so-called "emergency protection brochure" for the affected event of an incident German population.


On the French side town planning and settlement according to the risk of accidents to be "fast kinetics " adapted and controlled by so-called, this means the possibility of an accident with the spread of pollutants in high speed; especially in a radius of 2 km around the nuclear power plant around.

In addition, already a plan particulier d'intervention (PPI, dt special Eingreifplan ) was created, a post Nuclear Accident Plan ( PPA, dt plan for the aftermath of a nuclear accident ) is to be created:

" This PPA shapes the actions of the public sector in terms of personnel monitoring, food management, decontamination of the wetted zone ( which can extend up to 30 km) in terms of personal safety and monitoring. "

Malfunctions, selection

Since the commissioning of the nuclear power plant occurred 1989-2008 to over 200 incidents which are reportable according to the German Radiation Protection Ordinance. At the international scale for nuclear events (INES ) they were classified at level 0 or 1, there are the categories with little or no safety significance and deviation from the normal operation of the plant. For clarity, therefore only some of the more recent incidents are taken into account, which are not shown on the right part of the statistics.


On 27 December 2009, the second reactor of the nuclear power plant was initially shut down due to plant debris in the cooling circuit. The electricity company EDF announced that it is still unclear when the reactor will run up again. The French nuclear regulatory authority classified the one incident at the plant on INES 1. The taken for maintenance on December 26th from the mains reactor was supposed to resume operation on 27 December at 6 clock. According to EDF plant debris had fallen into the cooling circuit when the reactor should be booted when you restart a water pump. Thus, the performance of the system was affected.


On August 24, 2010 50 cubic meters of radioactive gases were released as the French state nuclear safety and Autorité de sûreté Nucléaire (ASN ) announced on its website. In this case, according to reports of 30 August 2010, the disintegration activity of radioactive gases from the reservoir was not measured before the escape. The incident was rated INES 0.

On 20 October 2010 it came during power a fan to a short circuit. It was then shut down for safety reasons, the Unit 1 of the nuclear power plant.


Due to an operator error occurred on April 3, 2011 on an automatic shutdown of the reactor 1 After review by the operator of the power plant was commissioned on 4 April 2011 again. The French Nuclear ASN rated the incident with INES1.


On April 25, it came as specified by the power plant operator in the non-nuclear part of the plant to a fire at the cooling part of an alternator in the machine hall of the block II

On May 8, there was, according to the power plant operator again to a fault in Block II of the power plant: during a test in which the power plant is separated from the regular power grid to simulate a power failure, was an automatic scram.

On 5 September, several people were injured in an incident. It should be leaked hydrogen peroxide vapor.

Efforts to prevent or closure of the power plant

Civic Engagement

In April 1971 there was the first demonstration against the construction of the nuclear power station at Fessenheim; it was organized by the Committee for the Protection of the Rhine Alsace level: 15,000 people gathered at the future site of the Canal d'Alsace, with the aim to prevent the construction project. In the course of further resistance movements - as well as against the construction of nuclear power plant Wyhl on the Baden side of the Upper Rhine - was created in 1977 the first still illegally transmitting radio station Radio Verte Fessenheim who equally spoke out against the nuclear power plant Fessenheim and the opponents supported. Later called this into radio Dreyeckland.

In June 2005, was founded by various organizations and communities from Germany, France and Switzerland, the Tri-National Nuclear Protection Association ( TRAS, French L'Association de protection de la tri-national population of alentours de Fessenheim ( ATPN ) ). He has set itself the goal of achieving a decommissioning of the reactors of the nuclear power station at Fessenheim the courts. In the following years repeatedly expressed several anti-nuclear concerns about the nuclear power plant so called in February 2007, the environmental organization Greenpeace closure of the power plant.

In March 2011 there was a demonstration of Neuenburg am Rhein Rhine to the island at Chalampé where up to 10,000 people took part. Then there were further demonstrations against the continued operation, each with several thousand protesters, including early April on the Rhine island between hard home and the power plant, on Easter Monday in numerous German - Swiss and German - French Rhine bridges, in May 2011 in Freiburg on the Stühlinger Church Square and in June of the same year - this time in the form of a human chain - turn on the nuclear power plant itself Aktionsbündnis Fessenheim shut down. Now! organized to continue almost regularly every two months more protest actions with numerous participants.

Official claims ( selection)

In addition, officials, institutions, cities and municipalities in the wake of the explosions in Fukushima formulated more and more resolutions for the fastest possible shutdown of the local power plant: eg the three Swiss cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel -Land and Jura, French region of Franche -Comté and the Alsatian city of Strasbourg; Also in Germany, among other cities and towns Badenweiler, Offenburg Breisach, Freiburg, Ettenheim, Lahr, garbage home, Munster, Sasbach, Titisee- Neustadt and Umkirch.

23 June 2011 in addition gave the incumbent first district administrator of the district of Breisgau in the Black Forest (Germany), Dorothea Störr Knight, the incumbent Commissioner for Energy of the European Union, Günther Oettinger, a 9 May 2011, adopted unanimously by council Breisgau in the Black Forest Resolution the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant. This resolution joined the end of July the Gemeindeverwaltungsverband garbage home Badenweiler. Also the Ortenaukreis adopted 26 July 2011 unanimously adopted a resolution to the power plant Fessenheim in which challenged the authorization for life extension and decommissioning has been sought.

In a letter to the reigning French Environment Minister calls her Baden-Württemberg counterpart for the stress test in France in Fessenheim due to " cross- border environmental impact," taking into account the same criteria as they 've created the German Reactor Safety Commission in the revision of the German reactors.

In November 2011, agreed the Parti Socialiste (PS ) and the green party Europe Ecologie -Les Verts ( EELV ), shut down in 2025 24 French nuclear power plants in the case of an election victory in the presidential election on April 22, 2012 to year. This would be a third of the nuclear capacity in France. The nuclear power plant Fessenheim to be switched off in case of an election victory left immediately (see phase out nuclear power: France). This was confirmed by the Socialist candidate François Hollande repeated. The then- incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out several times, even with a visit to the plant in February 2012, clearly for continued operation of, possibly with an original maturity up to 60 years.

On September 14, 2012, the reigning French President François Hollande announced that the nuclear power plant should be closed at the end of 2016.