EDF Nuclear Generation Ltd, the nuclear site licensee for Hunterston B power station in North Ayrshire has announced that the Hunterston B Reactor 3 will remain offline to ensure that the longer term safety case reflects the findings of recent inspections. In March 2018, ONR was informed that additional keyway root cracks had been found during recent planned inspections of the graphite bricks that make up the core at Reactor 3 at Hunterston B. Donald Urquhart, Deputy Chief Nuclear Inspector and Director of ONR’s Operating Facilities Division said: “We welcome the decision by EDF to delay the return to service of Reactor 3 at Hunterston B pending further assessment of the significance of the most recently identified keyway root cracks. I view EDF’s decision as responsible, conservative, and made in the best interest of public safety.” EDF will require ONR’s permission to restart Reactor 3, and we will be assessing the adequacy of EDF’s safety case for the longer term operation of the reactor.
ONR 2nd May 2018 read more »
Utility Week 3rd May 2018 read more »
Electricity output from the Hunterston B nuclear power station could fall by 40% this year after dozens of cracks were discovered in one of the reactors. The North Ayrshire power plant’s director Colin Weir said it would be necessary to reduce generation. But he insisted that Hunterston B, which is scheduled to be in operation until 2023, was still safe. The company running the plant, EDF Energy, expects the damaged reactor to return to service by the end of 2018. There were 3 cracks in 2015, now there are 39.
BBC 3rd May 2018 read more »
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Largs & Millport News 3rd May 2018 read more »
Local communities should be given a say in the future of Hunterston nuclear plant, according to Green MSP Ross Greer. A reactor at Hunterston B nuclear power station was today taken offline after cracks were found in its core, with operator EDF saying it had anticipated the faults and would work with the regulator “to ensure that the longer term safety case reflects the findings of the recent inspections”. Hunterston B had originally been scheduled to close in 2011, before operators decided to extend its lifetime to 2016. EDF then announced in 2012 that the plant could run until 2023. But with cracks also having been discovered in the core back in 2014, Greer urged the Scottish Government to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment on the state of the plant. He said: “This is obviously of major safety and economic concern to the local community. Last year I published a report urging the Scottish Government to review safety conditions at the site following earlier reports of cracks and the repeated granting of lifetime extensions to the plant. The local community currently has no say in decisions to extend a plant’s lifetime as an Environmental Impact Assessment with a public consultation is not required. “The government must reconsider its position on the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment to accompany decisions on the granting of lifetime extensions to ageing nuclear power stations and commit to a renewed transition plan for North Ayrshire which will prevent the community being left behind, as so many others have been, by the closure of aging power stations.”
Holyrood Magazine 3rd May 2018 read more »
EDF Energy has announced that Reactor 3 of its Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Scotland, UK, will remain offline while new cracks are investigated in the unit’s graphite core. Whilst these cracks are expected as part of the ageing process of the graphite bricks, the latest cracks have appeared quicker than anticipated. AGR reactors feature a graphite moderator and are cooled using carbon dioxide. The graphite bricks cannot be replaced or repaired during the operating life of the reactors. However, radiation damage changes the shape and size of the crystallites that comprise graphite, a process known as dimensional change, which in turn degrades the mechanical properties of the graphite. For continued operation, it is therefore necessary to demonstrate that the graphite can still perform its intended role irrespective of the degradation.
World Nuclear News 3rd May 2018 read more »
The cracks found in reactor three at Hunterston B nuclear power station mean it will be offline for months while regulators investigate the problem. But what does this actually mean for the Ayrshire plant? Kevin Keane, BBC Scotland’s environment, energy and rural affairs correspondent, explains. Operators EDF Energy say they could put it back online now if they wanted to and that has been agreed with the regulator. But they want to re-examine the safety case for the longer term and try to learn as much as they can about these cracks before going back online with the reactor. The regulator has praised them for that and for taking a conservative approach. They will do some other maintenance at the same time but expect to be back online by the end of the year.
BBC 3rd May 2018 read more »