The NPP as a dry dock: Zwentendorf provides unequalled training opportunities for nuclear power plant employees.
As the power plant was never put into operation, Zwentendorf offers several accessible areas that otherwise could only be entered under considerable safety precautions due to high radiation.
Hundreds of engineers – mainly from identically constructed plants in Germany – have made use of these opportunities since 2003. After the first training courses in cooperation with the Powertech Training Center (Kraftwerksschule Essen), the facility was converted into a training plant. Today, Zwentendorf provides up to 120 training days per year, thus generating income while contributing to safer operations in nuclear power plants.
Nuclear power plants have operation and revision intervals. Certain nuclear power plants are continuously operated for three years and then put out of service for six months to replace various wearing parts. The revision process requires sophisticated logistics because the maintenance and repair work usually needs to be carried out in highly radiated areas: in nuclear power plants, classic repair work that would usually require no more than two engineers is carried out by 10 to 15 people because they con only stay in radiated areas for very short periods of time. As they are not able to get a lot done in such short intervals, the engineers need to operate well together. It is these work processes that are practiced more or less in “dry dock” conditions at Zwentendorf – under highly realistic conditions yet without any danger from radioactivity.
In the next few years, German nuclear power plant engineers will probably be mainly concerned with dismantling existing plants – also at Zwentendorf for planning purposes. Therefore, Indian plant engineers have shown increasing interest in the Zwentendorf Training Centre. Returning to the state of peaceful slumber is highly unlikely.