One of the two cracked reactors at Hunterston B nuclear power station in North Ayrshire has been given permission to reopen – but only for four months. The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is allowing EDF Energy to restart reactor four, which has an estimated 209 cracks in its graphite core. It was shut down on 2 October 2018. ONR has accepted EDF’s argument that it’s safe to relax the limit for the permitted number of cracks. The “operational allowance” for cracks per reactor is being doubled from 350 to 700.
The Ferret 20th Aug 2019 read more »
Britain’s nuclear watchdog has agreed to allow one of the country’s oldest nuclear reactors to restart, one year after it was shut down to investigate cracks in its graphite core. EDF Energy is expected to restart reactor 4 at its 40-year-old Hunterston B nuclear plant within weeks after the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said the plant was safe. The regulator will allow the reactor to run for four months after proving that the reactor cores can still fulfil their fundamental safety requirements, despite the cracks in its graphite bricks.
Guardian 20th Aug 2019 read more »
Reuters 20th Aug 2019 read more »
Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer raised concerns over previous safety incidents at the plant, described by EDF Energy as minor. The politician said these combined with the cracks “paint the picture of an ageing relic being pushed beyond its already repeatedly extended lifespan”. Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon said: “Restarting the Hunterston reactors is definitely not worth the risk. “Most people in Scotland will not even have noticed these reactors at Hunterston have been offline for so long as dependable renewable energy has more than made up for the difference.”
Energy Voice 21st Aug 2019 read more »
Scotsman 20th Aug 2019 read more »
The National 21st Aug 2019 read more »
Daily Record 20th Aug 2019 read more »
Dundee Evening Telegraph 20th Aug 2019 read more »
One of two nuclear reactors at the Hunterston B power plant which were shut down last year has been given permission to return to service. Hundreds of cracks were found in the graphite bricks within the reactor cores at the North Ayrshire plant. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has now agreed that it is safe for operator EDF to restart one of the reactors for a four-month period. The other reactor remains shut. EDF is seeking permission for it to reopen. Reactor three was shut down in March 2018 after more than 350 cracks were found within the graphite core – breaching the operational limit for the plant. Reactor four was closed later in the year. Fewer cracks had been found, but experts predicted that it would soon also exceed the safety limit. The ONR has now accepted that the operational allowance should be increased from 350 to 700 cracks in each reactor. Reactor four has been allowed to operate for a four-month period, but the regulator said its longer-term condition was “uncertain” and that EDF would need to justify its safe operation beyond this period. While Reactor 4 was shut down, EDF developed a safety case to justify its operation. That safety case was based on increasing the operational allowance from 350 to 700 cracks, and setting an upper safety limit of 1,331 cracked bricks.
BBC 20th Aug 2019 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has today provided EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd with permission for Reactor 4 at Hunterston B to return to service for the next period of operation. Permission is for up to 16.025 terawatt days, which is approximately four months operation. Our team of specialist inspectors has completed an extensive assessment of the detailed safety case submitted by the licensee EDF Energy, focusing specifically on whether the cracking observed in the reactor graphite core will compromise its fundamental nuclear safety requirements. Our assessment included extensive scrutiny of the underpinning evidence provided by the licensee and concluded that an adequate safety case has been provided to allow a further period of operation. ONR is satisfied that Reactor 4 is safe to operate for the next period and can be safely shut down in all foreseeable circumstances, including that of a significant seismic event.
ONR 20th Aug 2019 read more »
One of the two current reactors at the Hunterston B nuclear power plant will restart after it was shut down last year due to cracks in graphite bricks in the reactor cores. Another reactor was not granted permission by the regulator to restart. Dr Richard Dixon Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland commented, “Nuclear energy is dangerous, unaffordable and unreliable. For some electricity today, we are leaving a thousand generations of future humans dangerous radioactive waste. “Restarting the Hunterston reactors is definitely not worth the risk. Most people in Scotland will not even have noticed these reactors at Hunterston have been offline for so long, as dependable renewable energy has more than made up for the difference. Renewables had another record-breaking first quarter of 2019 supplying nine out of ten households in Scotland. “The nuclear industry is doing a great job of showing how terrible a bet nuclear is. The industry is almost unique in that every new reactor costs more than the last, while everything else gets cheaper, including offshore wind power which is now coming in at just over half the price of nuclear for a unit of energy. The Scottish and UK Governments should be investing in building the renewable energy economy, creating decent green jobs and delivering a just transition for workers and communities as we move away from dirty energy.”
FoE Scotland 20th Aug 2019 read more »
ONR reassures EDF reactor is safe despite cracked core. Cracks in graphite cores are a well-known phenomena according to the ONR. Reactor 4 will be allowed to operate for the next four month operational period.
Utility Week 20th Aug 2019 read more »
A nuclear reactor with cracks in its core has been given the all-clear by safety regulators to resume generating for another four months. Separately last night, it emerged that Rolls-Royce was closing in on a deal to sell the bulk of its civil nuclear business to a company led by EDF. The engineering group plans to sell the bulk of its instrumentation and control division to Framatome for an estimated £100 million, Sky News reported.
Times 21st Aug 2019 read more »