A nuclear reactor at Hunterston could be offline until the end of the year after root cracks were discovered in its core. EDF Energy has said that, while Hunterston B Reactor 3 could return to operation from the current outage, it will remain offline while the company works with the regulator to ensure that the longer term safety case reflects the findings of the recent inspections. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would seek ‘further assurance’ on safety from EDF Energy, after questions were raised at the Scottish Parliament by Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson. Mr Gibson said: “I am deeply concerned at the news that EDF Energy has had to keep Reactor 3 at Hunterston B out of action for repairs until the end of 2018, as a precaution, after expected new keyway root cracks in the reactor core were found to be happening at a slightly faster rate than expected. I asked the First Minister, who was due to meet with EDF Energy’s Chief Executive, to seek assurances that safety will remain EDF’s number 1 priority and that, once repairs are completed fully, Hunterston B will continue to operate at least until its planned closure in 2023 and prior to the commencement of decommissioning. “I have also written to ask about the Scottish Government’s efforts regarding contingencies being put in place to replace the jobs if the plant closes early.” Drew Cochrane, who sits on the Hunterston site stakeholders group, said: “Having listened intently to experts from the Office of the Nuclear Regulator at the Hunterston Stakeholders Group meeting and having had an on site tour and demonstration of the Hunterston B reactors the reality is that there are 6000 bricks and 3000 fuel bricks. “There are a small number of cracks which have been discovered which are the size of the head of a ballpoint pen. The experts say that there would have to be 350 cracked bricks to be a serious situation. A Green MSP is challenging the Scottish Government to give the community a say in any decision to extend the plant’s lifetime. Ross Greer says the lack of public consultation has been unacceptable, while highlighting that European law says all ageing nuclear power stations should have an environmental impact assessment.
Largs & Millport News 11th May 2018 read more »