News and press releases
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) published a statement yesterday (4 December 2023) after the Guardian newspaper reported cyberattacks on the Sellafield nuclear facility on the same day.
More than 30 pressurised water reactors of the Russian or Soviet VVER (water-water-energy reactor) type are currently in operation in Eastern and Central Europe, and several new plants are under construction. Mochovce-3, for example, started commercial operation in Slovakia in October 2023. Not least the war in Ukraine and the fact that the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (NPP) became the theatre of war have shown that technical knowledge about this type of plant is still needed in Germany too, e.g. to be able to assess any risks. Experts at GRS are therefore involved in numerous research projects on VVER reactors, including international ones.
With the help of interventional radiology, certain medical procedures can be carried out in a minimally invasive manner that would previously have required surgery. As ionising radiation is generally used for imaging, the radiation exposure of the medical personnel involved has risen steadily over the years in line with the number of such procedures. In order to improve understanding of the distribution of radiation in the room and thus reduce radiation exposure, GRS scientists have produced a training video and a calculation tool as part of a research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.
For many years there have been reports of radioactive caesium-137 (Cs-137) that is sometimes detected in large quantities in mushrooms and wild boar, especially in regions of southern Germany. Just in time for the start of the mushroom season, there have again been more reports of this in recent weeks. Where does the substance come from and why is it still detectable in larger quantities in mushrooms and wild boar, while it is decreasing overall in the ecosystem?
From 27 to 29 November 2023, GRS will hold its annual AC2 user meeting at its Garching location. The main objective of the meeting is to provide a communicative platform for the exchange of experience between users.
Germany shut down its last three power reactors on 15 April 2023. This marks the end of the era of commercial electricity generation from nuclear energy in Germany. However, a number of research reactors are still in operation. In this article, we explain why this is so, what distinguishes them from commercial reactors, and what the tasks of GRS are in this context.
On 16 April 2023 at 01:00 in the morning, just one hour after the final three German nuclear power plants (NPPs) were shut down, the Olkiluoto-3 NPP in Finland began commercial operation. The reactor now feeds the electricity it generates into the Finnish power grid at market conditions. This was preceded by commissioning work and a 30-day trial run. With an electrical output of 1,600 megawatts (MW net), the plant of the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) type is the most powerful reactor in the world.
What has happened in the field of nuclear energy last year? What developments can be observed internationally? As in the previous year, in 2022, a total of six new reactor units were connected to the grid. On the other hand, five units have been decommissioned, three of them in the UK alone. Accordingly, the installed net electrical capacity increased by 4,089 MW to 378,314 MW.
In the summer of 2022, more than half of the French nuclear power plants were temporarily off the grid. Electricity production in our neighbouring country collapsed, France had to buy considerable amounts of electricity from abroad - including from Germany, which in turn had an influence on the discussions about the temporary continued operation of the German nuclear power plants. But what about the French plants and their contribution to the electricity supply at the beginning of this year?
The remaining three operating nuclear power plants Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 were originally scheduled to be shut down on 31 December 2022 and subsequently dismantled. However, Russia's attack on Ukraine, which is in violation of international law, has led to significant price increases on the gas and electricity markets. The downtime of many French nuclear power plants and the insufficient expansion of the electricity grid to southern Germany have further aggravated the situation. Among other things, the overall situation has led to increased burdens on the electricity grids in Germany and Europe.