E.ON denied media reports that it is planning to announce an early shut down for its 1.4GW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant in Germany already in spring 2015 instead of at the end of that year.
It is unlikely that E.ON would be allowed to shut down the plant completely before the 31 December 2015 because the plant is needed to ensure the security of supply and stabilise the grid in south Germany where it is located. If considered system relevant by the grid operator, the operator would need to keep the plant as reserve online.
A German newspaper reported on Thursday that E.ON might aim to get system relevant reserve status for the plant which would allow the utility to receive grid stabilisation payments rather than having to sell its output on the market.
The paper speculated that this could allow E.ON to reduce the cost from having to replace the nuclear fuel rods which might not be economical with only little operational time left. A tax is charged every time one of the nuclear fuel rods in a nuclear plant is being replaced which is an “extraordinary burden,” a utility spokesman told ICIS via email on Friday. E.ON will decide “in due time” about loading further nuclear fuel rods, he said adding that “we are constantly assessing critically the profitability of our power plants.”
In theory a nuclear plant could be run at reduced output with fewer fuel rods than normal. Martin Degen