What are coastal nuclear power plants doing to address climate threats? As shorelines creep inland and storms worsen, nuclear reactors around the world face new challenges. The outer defensive wall of what is expected to be the world’s most expensive nuclear power station is taking shape on the shoreline of the choppy gray waters of the Bristol Channel in western England. By the time the US$25 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear station is finished, possibly in 2028, the concrete seawall will be 12.5 meters (41 feet) high, 900 meters (3,000 feet) long and durable enough, the UK regulator and French engineers say, to withstand the strongest storm surge, the greatest tsunami and the highest sea-level rise. But will it? Independent nuclear consultant Pete Roche, a former adviser to the UK government and Greenpeace, points out that the tidal range along this stretch of coast is one of the highest in the world, and that erosion is heavy. Indeed, observers reported serious flooding on the site in 1981 when an earlier nuclear power station had to be shut down for a week. following a spring tide and a storm surge. However well built, says Roche, the new seawall does not adequately take into account sea-level rise due to climate change. Research by Ensia suggests that at least 100 U.S., European and Asian nuclear power stations built just a few meters above sea level could be threatened by serious flooding caused by accelerating sea-level rise and more frequent storm surges. Some efforts are underway to prepare for increased flooding risk in the future. But a number of scientific papers published in 2018 suggest that climate change will impact coastal nuclear plants earlier and harder than the industry, governments or regulatory bodies have expected, and that the safety standards set by national nuclear regulators and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are out of date and take insufficient account of the effects of climate change on nuclear power.

Ensia 8th Aug 2018 read more »

GRADUATES from across the country were given an insight into the complexities of building new nuclear power plants as part of a recent two-day event at the National College for Nuclear Southern Hub, based at the Cannington Campus of Bridgwater & Taunton College. The 32 delegates from the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network heard direct from industry experts and toured the construction site at Hinkley Point C. The event aimed to give graduates and those new to the industry some interesting and insightful progress updates from several current new build projects.

Bridgwater Mercury 9th Aug 2018 read more »


Published: 10 August 2018