The history of building and operating nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Germany dates back to the late 1950s and will come to an end in 2022. By then all NPPs still in operation will have to shut down in a defined sequence, according to the revisions made to the German Atomic Energy Act as a consequence of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi NPP. Nine out of 17 NPPs have already been shut down permanently as a consequence.

Due to the progress in science and technology, the design of the electrical power supply of German NPPs got more complex and hardened against various scenarios with time. The latest generation of NPPs built in Germany in the late 1980’s — the pressurized water reactor of type Konvoi — was designed with Defence in Depth in mind. They are connected to several voltage levels of the power grid and feature two layers of AC emergency power systems, each of which fulfills the n+2 redundancy criteria. The second of those layers is especially hardened against the influence of certain internal and external events and is part of an emergency control system which can keep the plant in a safe state autonomously for 10 hours under certain conditions.

With this being the state of science and technology at that time in Germany, most of the older NPPs in operation had been retrofitted by 2011 with systems that were designed to partially compensate for these plants’ weaker original design.

Various events such as the accident at the Chernobyl 4 NPP in 1986 and also the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi NPP in 2011 led to changes in the German regulatory framework and recommendations to the NPPs for further retrofitting activities. In the regime of electrical power supply, the latest changes in requirements and corresponding retrofitting of the NPPs in operation include mobile diesel generators with corresponding, redundant feeding points, an enhanced coping capability for station blackouts with only DC-power left and measures to ensure bringing back AC-power within the available time.

In this presentation the author gives an overview over the historic development of the electric design in German NPPs and discuss details of the most recently added requirements on retrofitting — e.g. in the new regulatory framework — to enhance the robustness of the electrical power supply of those NPPs. An update on the progress on the actual retrofitting process of the German NPPs with respect to these new requirements is given.

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