A dry, 15 metre-deep concrete basin is currently drawing attention at the Freudenau power plant. The current work affords the rare view of the otherwise flooded “stilling basin” below the power plant. The reason for this is the urgent maintenance on weir field no. 1, which can only be done in a dry state.
The heart of the weir field is the mighty steel flap. It regulates the flow of the Danube, when more water flows than the turbines can swallow. Together with three other weir fields, the water level in the Vienna storage area can thus be precisely regulated from the power plant. In order for the flap to raise as required at the press of a button, regular inspections are needed. On and inside the mighty flap, seals are checked, corrosion protection renewed, bearings inspected and above all the control technology completely replaced. A new heating system protects the weir flap from icing up in winter.
This work has top priority even in times of coronavirus. The weir field must be made operationally ready because in the worst case scenario the Danube could experience an unwanted rise in level from the water released by the melting snow.
Working under aggravated conditions
To give employees the best possible protection, the power plant team has been divided up. Where contact is unavoidable, the employees protect themselves with mask, eye protection and gloves.
Despite all the delays, the work should be finished after Easter and operationally ready to handle the volume of water in the Danube after the snow melts.