The nuclear power plant fleet is ageing. Most reactors were designed for a lifetime of 30, some for even 40 years. After that, material’s ageing was assumed to become too grave. In these early years of the nuclear industry, replacements with advanced reactor types was envisaged. But that did not work out because of increasing costs, and also increasing construction times. Therefore, plant lifetime extensions, in short PLEX, started to boom, operation time of the nuclear fleet were started to be prolonged up to 50-60 years.
Though it is still disputed if PLEX procedures are to be subjected to an environmental impact assessment according to the ESPOO Convention, EC and national regulations, no nuclear project in these days can be expected to be waved through without public participation. Besides the EIA regulations, especially the Aarhus Convention creates legal possibilities to get access to environmental information.
But what information is of special interest when regarding an old NPP whose lifetime is in discussion to be prolonged? What are the topics that NGOs, the interested public and authorities of non-nuclear countries or worried neighboring countries should pay special attention to?
In 2015, Joint Project together with Oda Becker produced a brochure, in which we introduce important topics for PLEX that could and should be regarded in a participation procedure and in requesting information, respectively. The focus is on safety aspects which are covered in detail, but also other important aspects are dealt with. The brochure can be downloaded here.