Germany is currently in the process of decommissioning all of its nuclear power stations by the end of 2022, following the 13th amendment of the Atomic Energy Act in 2011.

The Philippsburg plant is operated by EnBW and is located on the bank of the River Rhine, in the south-west of Germany. Dismantling of Unit 1 of the plant began in May 2017, with the reactor in Unit 2 set to be shut down before the end of 2019.

In January 2017, EnBW contacted Innokran, a certified partner of Stahl CraneSystems, to work on installing three crane systems at the plant’s residual waste processing centre (RPC) and waste storage facility.

“We completed our first job in the power plant sector back in 2012 and have continuously expanded our experience in the field,” said Christoph Fischer, managing director of Innokran.

A frequency-controlled SHWF 8 winch from Stahl CraneSystems with a lifting capacity of 32t is being used in the RPC on a double girder overhead travelling crane with a span of 20m. The winch has a lifting speed range from 0–4m/min and is continuously variable. An auxiliary SHF 50 hoist with a lifting capacity of 5t was also installed.

The hoist power supply lines are protected by an energy chain. When the load moves downwards, the energy produced by the generator is converted into heat by the braking resistance, and is released into the environment through convection. In addition, special safety standards applicable in nuclear technology require redundant implementation of brakes and measuring systems. Some components, such as the switch cabinet, are made of corrosion-free stainless steel for easier cleaning; a paint coating is not required.

“The biggest challenge with such a plant is the complete documentation of all work processes—and also those of supplier companies. EnBW attaches great importance to this,” said Fischer. This includes marking all steel components with material stamps to ensure traceability, and all welds being inspected by an external team.

EnBW is also constructing a similar residue processing centre and waste storage facility at its Neckarwestheim site, where Innokran will supply a further three crane systems.