Ransby says he does not get emotional at the sight of the disused installation. “We cherished and cared for it for years, but ultimately, as an engineer, it makes no difference to me whether I am putting something together or taking it apart.” He is fully aware, however, that some of his colleagues see things differently and quite definitely have their problems with the present situation. Obviously, they talk about the future: “A lot of the people here are worried about what will happen next.” Of the 400 employees working at the Unterweser facility at the beginning of 2011, only 200 or so remain, and not even all of them will be able to stay for the entire duration of the decommissioning work. It is expected to take a good ten years once it gets underway. Aged 50, Ransby himself is unlikely to need to look for a new job at this stage in his career – in all probability he will stay until the end and then retire.
CHP module delivers 2 MW
Nevertheless, he has had to find himself new work to do in the everyday activities that remain. “The changes after the shutdown have demanded a degree of flexibility from all of us,” he says. So it suited him well that his colleague Dr Uwe Werner, a former shift manager like himself and as such responsible for the operation of the nuclear plant, started planning for the construction of a modular CHP plant – a project in which he could get involved. “We still have quite a big power requirement,” explains Werner, “which is for things like pumps, fuel-rod cooling, and the normal building infrastructure.” In total, the present internal energy demand is around 3.5 MW of electrical power and – depending on the outside temperature – up to 4 MW of heat. Since the beginning of 2014, a good proportion of that has been delivered by a CHP module from mtu
Onsite Energy. Based on a Series 4000 gas engine, it generates just under 2,000 kW of electrical power and 2,200 kW of heat.