Nuclear plant operator EDF Energy is hoping to restart a reactor it had to close because of new cracks. Experts have warned against extending the lives of old reactors, saying operators are “gambling with public safety.” Last week, operator EDF Energy said it would extend the shutdown to November to allow for additional safety checks after it discovered more new cracks. But the operator insists it will ultimately be able to restart the reactor — something it can only do with the ONR’s permission. “I’m absolutely positive they won’t be able to do that,” independent nuclear engineer John Large told DW. The graphite blocks in the reactor’s core ensure it can be cooled and safely shutdown in a nuclear emergency. If they are weakened in any way, there’s a chance an earthquake or modest tremor could trigger a nuclear meltdown and radioactive release, Large told DW. “EDF can’t do anything physically to resolve the situation. The bricks were never designed to be replaced. In fact, it’s entirely inaccessible inside the reactor’s core.”
Deutsche Welle 6th May 2018 read more »
Kilroot power station should be kept open because of a energy reduction at a nuclear power plant in Scotland, an MLA has said. Roy Beggs called for the retention of the Co Antrim station after it emerged that there were cracks in the reactor at Hunterston B plant in Ayrshire. Electricity generation from Hunterston B could fall by 40% this year after the cracks were discovered. A planned inspection of the graphite bricks that make up the core of Reactor 3 in March uncovered new “keyway root cracks”. Kilroot was facing closure in 2024 for environmental reasons related to its coal-burning technology, but its owner AES said earlier this year that it will in fact close at the end of this month. The closure will lead to the loss of 270 jobs. The cracks at Hunterston B were found to be developing at a slightly higher rate than anticipated, operator EDF Energy revealed.
Belfast Newsletter 7th May 2018 read more »