Four of the UK’s ageing nuclear power reactors, currently closed for repairs, should not be allowed to restart, in order to protect public health, says a consortium of 40 local authorities in Britain and Ireland. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), the local government voice on nuclear issues in the United Kingdom, then wants all the rest of the country’s 14 ageing advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) shut down as soon as possible, with the power they produce replaced by renewables and a programme of energy efficiency. The four reactors they want closed immediately are two at Hunterston in Scotland and two at Hinkley Point B in Somerset in the West of England. Of the other five power stations (each with two reacttors) which the NFLA wants shut down as soon as possible, one is at Torness, also in Scotland. Three more are in the North of England – one at Hartlepool in County Durham and two at Heysham in Lancashire – and one at Dungeness in south-east England. To protect the jobs of those involved, the NFLA calls in its report on the future of the AGRs for a “Just Transition”: retraining for skilled workers, but also an accelerated decommissioning of the plants to use the nuclear skills of the existing workforce. The report details the dangers that the reactors, some more than 40 years old, pose to the public. Graphite blocks, which are vital for closing down the reactor in an emergency, are disintegrating because of constant radiation, and other plants are so corroded that pipework is judged dangerous. If the two Hunterston reactors were restarted and the graphite blocks failed, a worst-case accident would mean both Edinburgh and Glasgow would have to be evacuated, the report says.
Climate News Network 13th Aug 2020 read more »
The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today a detailed report outlining the challenging problems besetting EDF’s existing Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) nuclear power plants like Hunterston and Hinkley Point B and argues that the entire AGR fleet is likely to close considerably earlier than the operator or the UK Government would like. This leaves real questions as to future UK energy policy requiring an even greater move towards decentralised and renewable energy alternatives. At present, EDF’s existing nuclear fleet of Advanced Gas Reactors covers reactors at Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B, Hartlepool, Heysham, Dungeness and Torness. All are due to end operations between 2023 and 2030, leaving just Sizewell B, a Pressurised Water Reactor, in operation.
NFLA 13th Aug 2020 read more »
The future of the AGR nuclear reactor fleet – to be closed sooner than expected by EDF?
NFLA 5th Aug 2020 read more »