Work begins to dismantle Garigliano reactor vessel

22 December 2023

Societa Gestione Impianti Nucleari SpA (Sogin) has begun the process of dismantling the pressure vessel of the boiling water reactor, which the company says is the most complex dismantling activity in the decommissioning of the boiling water reactor plant.

Removing the vessel head marks the start of the final phase of decommissioning of the boiling water reactor (Image: Sogin)

Working with its subsidiary Nucleco, Sogin said it has now removed the top part of the vessel as it enters the final phase of the nuclear decommissioning of the Campania site.

Removing the vessel head means that the rest of the vessel can now be submerged in the reactor channel. This will provide a natural radiation shield for subsequent dismantling operations which will be carried out under water, Sogin said.

Preparatory activities carried out before the removal of the vessel head included restoring auxiliary electrical, ventilation and control systems to the reactor building, as well as the circuit to flood the reactor channel. The removal of the vessel head was carried out under the supervision of Italy's National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection.

Work to remove equipment from the upper part of the reactor vessel is set to be completed in early 2024, after which Sogin said it will start the dismantling work on the vessel and the systems and components of the reactor building.

Garigliano, a 150 MWe boiling water reactor, was connected to the grid in January 1964 and was shut down in 1982. Italy decided to phase out nuclear power in a referendum that followed the 1986 Chernobyl accident and Sogin was established in 1999 to take responsibility for decommissioning the country's former nuclear power sites and locating a national waste store.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News