The company said that the preparations required an intensive planning of the technical and logistic processes. After the development of special tools for cutting the massive 15mt high steel structure and for conveying the cut pieces to a packaging system, Areva set up the complete infrastructure.

Ulrich Graber, management spokesman of Areva in Germany, said: “Areva dismantling teams cut the 320-ton reactor pressure vessel into more than 250 individual parts. The success of the project in Wurgassen gives proof of the high level of professionalism with which Areva is also involved in the dismantling business. This business field is an important component of our competency in the entire fuel cycle.”

When finished the decontamination the 250 parts and the release by the competent authorities, approximately half of the dismantled material can be melted and recycled. The second half will be packed in containers and prepared for the safe final disposal in the nuclear waste repository ‘Schacht Konrad’.

The Wugassen nuclear power station was in operation from 1971 to 1994. Its decommissioning was decided in 1995. The dismantling started in 1997 and is to be completed by 2014.