Rückbau des Kernkraftwerkes Rheinsberg

Dismantling of Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant

The dismantling project provides for the immediate staged dismantling of the nuclear power plant mainly with internal staff whilst making use of the experience of maintenance and reconstruction gained at Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant.

This means:

  • The dismanting of all technical equipment
  • The dismantling of contaminated building structures
  • Demolition of the building after release from the Atomic Energy Act
  • Disposal or recycling of waste and residual materials accumulating in the process (disposal)

The immediate dismantling of the nuclear plant was given priority over a possible safe enclosure as the building design (no containment construction) presents too great a technical and financial challenge for safe enclosure, the existing functional technical equipment, for example lifting gear would have to be renewed for subsequent dismantling and the necessary competent and experienced staff are on hand when the plant is switched off.

Proposals to shut down and dismantle Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant were developed at the beginning of the 1990s and a cost and time estimation for all necessary work was compiled and agreed upon with the proprietors.

In April 1995 the competent nuclear supervisory authority for the federal state of Brandenburg gave permission for the shutting down and partial dismantling of Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant. The dismantling of the nuclear plant commenced directly afterwards.

The Decommissioning and Dismantling Process


Decommissioning phase 1991 – 2001


The prerequisites for dismantling were created during the decommissioning phase, which comprises the period between the cessation of power operation, i.e. the production of electrical energy and the removal of the fuel from the nuclear plant.


Phasing out and dismantling as from 2001


Infrastructure equipment which was necessary for the maintenance of the site up to the end of dismantling was operated in the phasing out and dismantling period remaining after removal of the fuel.


Dismantling phases beginning in 1995 up to completion of the project in 2025


The work was divided into eight dismantling stages in order to create manageable work stages with regard to the formulation of the necessary paperwork, the approval process and the practical realization of the project.

The total mass of the nuclear plant to be dismantled is approximately 342.000 tonnes; approximately 63,000 tonnes thereof are contaminated with radioactive substances.

Show all dismantling stages

In compliance with the corresponding official approvals work is being carried out according to the following principles and time sequence:

Dismantling outside of the controlled area (stage 1) from 1995

Dismantling of secondary cycle machinery and electrical plant no longer needed (mainly in the machine hall) whilst conserving the building fabric including transport and supply facilities for use during further dismantling of the nuclear power station.

Dismantling within the controlled area (stages 2 - 6) from 1996

Incremental dismantling of equipment, beginning with parts with low contamination and continuing to highly contaminated/activated parts up to the reactor pressure container.

Establish demolition conditions in the main buildings (stage 7) from 2009

Removal and establishment of radiological conditions for subsequent demolition

Demolition of the main building and infrastructure which is no longer needed (stage 8)

Release from supervision under nuclear legislation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure which is no longer needed.

Wir setzen Maßstäbe.
Mit Sicherheit.
Ein Mann beim Schweißen

Current Works

The final work to remove hot spots in the special drainage system for the residual operating system is currently in progress.

A major improvement in working conditions for staff during dismantling and disposal of piping and plant components has been achieved with the significant lowering of the local dose rate in these areas.

Storage Facility for Liquid and Solid Waste

Lager für flüssige und feste radioaktive Abfälle

During the operation of a nuclear power plant, radioactively contaminated liquid and solid waste is produced. There was no final repository available for this waste in East Germany as nuclear energy started to be used. For this reason, a final repository for operational radioactive waste, the repository for liquid and solid waste, was set up at the site of the Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant. Waste from both the Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant and also from the Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant was stored there.

After the repository for liquid and solid radioactive waste had been emptied in October 1998, the dismantling of equipment and the demolition of the first building (concrete monolith and old oil store) in the vicinity of the final repository.


One important prerequisite for the dismantling of Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant is the safeguarding of continuous disposal of all waste and residual materials which accumulate during the dismantling process.

The following disposal routes were and are used:

  • Disposal of used fuel elements which were located on the site at the time the plant was switched off in four CASTOR® type transport and storage containers into the Interim Storage Facility North set up at the site of Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant
  • Transport of the radioactive operational and shutdown waste to the final repository for radioactive waste in Morsleben (ERAM) up to its closure in 1998 and after this to the Interim Storage Facility North for further processing and for subsequent transport to a final storage facility,
  • Non-radioactive residual material and residual material cleared after clearance measurement are reintroduced to the recovered substance cycle or disposed of as waste if they cannot be recycled.

For each individual part, the individual data and the disposal route are completely documented: material quality, radiation intensity, weight, location of the removal, type of disposal.