With Nuclear Shutdowns Looming, Swiss Utility Establishes Decommissioning Company

By David Dalton
10 March 2015

With Nuclear Shutdowns Looming, Swiss Utility Establishes Decommissioning Company
The Leibstadt nuclear station in Switzerland, in which Alpiq has a stake.

10 Mar (NucNet): Swiss utility Alpiq has established a decommissioning company for the post-operation and dismantling of nuclear installations, as well as for radiation protection and decontamination, a statement said.

With Switzerland due to shut down its commercial nuclear reactors and prevent the building of new ones, Swiss Decommissioning AG, with headquarters in Olten, west of Zurich, is being established to “seize new opportunities” in the power plant business, the statement said.

After the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in March 2011, the Swiss federal government and parliament voted to ban new reactors and to close the country’s existing five units at the end of their useful lifetimes.

Alpiq owns stakes in the Leibstadt and Gösgen nuclear stations, which are expected to close in around 2034 and 2029 respectively.

“Alpiq has been in possession of the necessary competences and experience in this area for a long time through the German company Kraftanlagen Heidelberg GmbH, which belongs to the Alpiq Group,” the statement said.

Kraftanlagen Heidelberg GmbH has been active in Switzerland for more than 30 years and is a service provider for Swiss nuclear power stations. The company also realises projects for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) in Geneva, and for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) at the Cadarache facility in southern France.

In Germany, the company is involved in large-scale dismantling projects such as the nuclear power plants Würgassen, Obrigheim, Isar-1, Neckarwestheim-1 and Philippsburg-1.

Earlier yesterday, Alpiq said in a statement announcing its financial results that it had a net loss of 902 million Swiss francs (€842 million, $914 million) in 2014, due largely low European wholesale prices caused by rising renewable capacity and low energy demand.

The company said results for 2015 will be affected by low wholesale prices. The reasons are the “high subsidies” for new renewable energies, which have promoted an increase of wind and photovoltaic systems, low prices for primary energies such as oil, gas and coal, as well as weak CO2 prices.

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