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UK’s nuclear regulator allows EDF to restart Hunterston B nuclear reactor, despite cracks

Nuclear regulator permits restarting of reactor 4 at Hunterston B

EDF Energy is expected to restart reactor a year after it was shut down over safety concerns, Guardian, Jillian Ambrose. 21 Aug 19,  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 on the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire 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……..

The reactor was shut down last March after investigators discovered more than expected cracks in the graphite core of reactor 4 and reactor 3 at the Scottish nuclear plant. Its application to restart reactor 3, which was found to have more than 350 hairline cracks in its graphite core, is still pending. ……..

The French-owned energy company owns and operates all of the UK’s existing nuclear power plants, which provide about a fifth of the UK’s electricity. It is hoping to extend the reactors’ expected running lives and build new nuclear plants at the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell B nuclear sites.

The company said in 2016 it would extend the lives of its Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear plants, which were due to close this year but will continue to run until 2024. The closure dates of the Heysham 2 and Torness nuclear plants will both be delayed by seven years to 2030.

EDF Energy hopes to run the Hunterston nuclear plant until 2023. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/20/edf-nuclear-reactor-restarting-hunterston-b

August 22, 2019 - Posted by | safety, UK

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