German utility EnBW has applied for early permits for the decommissioning and dismantling of the Philippsburg-2 and Neckarwestheim-2 nuclear units in southwest Germany, according to a statement on the company’s website on 18 July. Both units are still operating, but the statement said all five nuclear power reactors owned by EnBW are now in “a formal decommissioning process”. According to EnBW, Philippsburg-2 will be in commercial operation until the end of 2019 and Neckarwestheim-2 until the end of 2022. Both plants together provide about one-third of the electricity demand in Baden-Württemberg, EnBW said.

EnBW said it filed the permit applications with the Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy of the province of Baden-Württemberg, where both Philippsburg-2 and Neckarwestheim-2 are situated.  EnBW said it would like to have the permits granted before the operating lifetime of the two units expires in order to begin the decommissioning and dismantling process “immediately” after shutdown, since the licensing process could take 3-4 years.

Philippsburg-1 and Neckarwestheim-1 were shut down in August 2011 in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan. EnBW’s fifth reactor, Obrigheim, is Germany’s oldest reactor and was shut down in May 2005. EnBW said it expects to receive the permits for the dismantling Philippsburg-1 and Neckarwestheim-1 in the second half of 2016.