Borssele Nuclear Power Station

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Borssele Nuclear Power Station
Borssele 2008-2011-08-07.jpg
Borssele NPP in 2011
Borssele Nuclear Power Station is located in Netherlands
Borssele Nuclear Power Station
Location of Borssele Nuclear Power Station in Netherlands
Official name Kernenergiecentrale Borssele
Country Netherlands
Location Borssele
Coordinates 51°25′51″N 3°43′06″E / 51.43083°N 3.71833°E / 51.43083; 3.71833Coordinates: 51°25′51″N 3°43′06″E / 51.43083°N 3.71833°E / 51.43083; 3.71833
Status Operational
Construction began 1969
Commission date 26 October 1973
Owner(s) EPZ
Operator(s) Elektriciteits Produktiemaatschappij Zuid-Nederland
Nuclear power station
Reactor type PWR
Reactor supplier Siemens KWU
Power generation
Units operational 1 x 515 MW
Nameplate capacity 515 MW
Annual output 3,273 GWh

The Borssele Nuclear Power Station (Kernenergiecentrale Borssele) is a nuclear power plant near the Dutch town of Borssele. It has a pressurised water reactor (PWR). Borssele is the only nuclear power plant still operational for electricity production in the Netherlands. Its net output is 485 MWe.


The Borssele nuclear power plant was built by Siemens and has been operational since 1973. Originally it was built primarily to supply relatively cheap electricity to an aluminum smelting facility, opened by French concern Pechiney at a nearby site in 1971, that for many years used two-thirds of the output of the power plant. In 2006, the installation of a modern steam turbine brought the original electrical output of 449 MW up to 485 MW.

Nuclear fuel[edit]

In July 2011, Borssele received from the government the permission to burn MOX fuel.[1] Currently, the uranium used by Borssele comes from Kazakhstan.[2]

Radioactive waste[edit]

Areva NC[3] reprocesses the spent fissionable material. Part of the deal is that the radioactive waste (i.e. the products of the reprocessing which are not useful) are taken back by the Netherlands.

The Central Organization for Radioactive Waste (COVRA), also in Borssele, is the national storage facility for all radioactive wastes. It is a surface facility suitable for the next 100 years.

Borssele produces around 12 tonnes of high level waste annually.[4]

The nuclear plant had a long lasting contract with the nuclear recycling-factory in La Hague. This contract will end in 2015. Since 2006 it was impossible to transport the used fuel-rod to France, because the French laws on nuclear fuel were changed. The new law insisted that the nuclear waste should return to The Netherlands within a short period. This required a change in Dutch law too, but it took 5 years before all new permissions for transports were handled by the "Raad van State", and all questions of civilians and all opposition against the transports were handled properly. All that time it was impossible to send spent fuel to France, and the used fuel rods were piling up in the spent fuel pool. Between 2012 and 2015 ten transports were planned, in which each time 50 percent more fuel rods than usual would be taken by train to La Hague. The reprocessed uranium would be enriched in Russia, by mixing it with high enriched uranium from nuclear-powered submarines, discarded after the cold-war. A quarter of the uranium would stay in Russia, to be used in nuclear power stations there.[5] The first transport was at 7 June 2011. Although activists tried to delay the transport, the next day the fuel rods arrived in La Hague.


Newsreel video showing protest at the Borssele Nuclear Power Station after the Three Mile Island accident (language: Dutch)

The use of nuclear energy is a controversial issue in Dutch politics. The first commercial nuclear plant in the Netherlands, Dodewaard, was decommissioned in 1997 after only 28 years of service. This decision was taken against the background of political opposition to nuclear energy. In 1994, government and parliament decided to close down the Borssele plant as of 2004. However, due to legal action by owners and employees of the plant and changes in government policy in 2002, the decommissioning was delayed until 2013, meaning the plant would exactly fulfill its originally intended life span of 40 years. In recent years nuclear energy has become less controversial in the Netherlands and is increasingly viewed as one of many possibilities to reduce CO2 emissions and increase national energy self-reliance. As a result, the Dutch government decided in 2006 that Borssele would remain operational until 2033.[6] In June 2006, the government made a contract ("Borssele-convenant") with the owners of the plant, Delta and Essent. Delta and Essent commit themselves to pay 250 Mio Euro into a 'fonds voor duurzame energie' (fund for the R&D of renewable energy) from their windfall profits being generated by the prolongation of the operating time.[7]

In 2009, the Dutch utility Delta, which owns 50% of Elektriciteits Produktiemaatschappij Zuid-Nederland (EPZ), submitted a start-up memorandum to the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, beginning the process of building a second unit at Borssele. The choice of reactor design for the new project has not been disclosed, although Delta says it expects construction costs to be in the order of €4–5 billion ($6–7 billion). The company said in 2009 that if all goes well, a construction permit application could be submitted in 2012, with a construction start date of 2013, and plant operation in 2018.[8] In January 2012, DELTA announced it was putting the plans for a "Borssele II" on hold for 2 or 3 years.[9]

In June, Delta announced that it will become the majority shareholder of the nuclear power plant in Borssele.[10]

The Borssele Nuclear Power Plant
The nuclear power plant


Since 1980 the Dutch government publishes yearly reports of malfunctions and accidents in nuclear power plants. These reports show that up to and including 2009 there were 372 incidents.[11] During these incidents there were regular malfunctions of safety precautions. In 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989 and 2006 there had been problems with the emergency power supplies.

Table of malfunctions & accidents at the Borssele Nuclear Power Station

Year Amount Year Amount Year Amount Year Amount
1980 17 1990 18 2000 12 2010 9
1981 16 1991 23 2001 9 2011 8
1982 11 1992 20 2002 10 2012 2
1983 7 1993 21 2003 6
1984 11 1994 17 2004 8
1985 7 1995 8 2005 13
1986 8 1996 14 2006 17
1987 17 1997 15 2007 5
1988 10 1998 10 2008 6
1989 25 1999 8 2009 3
Total since 1980 391

In 1996 there was an INES 2-incident (on a scale of 7) at Borssele. Nobody was hurt.[12]

On 19 September 2013 the powerstation was taken off the grid. During an inspection broken coolribs were found in the generator section of the non-nuclear section of the reactor. Investigations were done whether the coolribs could be restored. If not, then the coolers would be replaced. Because of the overcapacity on the energy market, power shortages were not expected. The owner of the plant could not say, when the powerstation could be restarted.[13][14]

See also[edit]


Based on information from the website of the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment[15] and the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands.[16]


  1. ^ Approval for MOX use at Borssele
  2. ^ Kerncentrale Borssele na 2013-Gevolgen van Beëindiging of voortzetting van de bedrijfsvoering
  3. ^ AREVA NC - nuclear energy, nuclear fuel - La Hague
  4. ^ Nuclear Energy Data 2008, OECD, p. 48 (the Netherlands, Borssele_nuclear_power_plant)
  5. ^ De Volkskrant (1 juni 2011) Kerntransporten vanuit Borssele kunnen net op tijd worden hervat
  6. ^ 11 January 2006 Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Speech staatssecretaris Van Geel (VROM) tijdens Delta-duurzaamheidslezing op 16 juni 2006 te Goes
  8. ^ "Delta sets ball rolling for new Dutch plant". World Nuclear News. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  9. ^ "Mixed news on Netherlands new build". World Nuclear News. 23 Jan 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  10. ^ Archived October 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. "This has been the result of a large number of discussions between the former Essent shareholders, DELTA and the German energy company RWE, which is written down in a letter of intent."
  11. ^ No official numbers are known about the period before 1980. The minister of Social Affairs, W. Albeda, states in the first report in May 1981 that overall the number and severity of events in previous years is similar to the events reported regarding 1980.
  12. ^ Borssele | Nuclear power in Europe
  13. ^ (Dutch) (16 September 2013)
  14. ^ (Dutch) (3 October 2013) Kerncentrale Borssele offline because of faulty coolers
  15. ^ Ministerie van VROM - Home Archived January 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Energie in Nederland

External links[edit]