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Should the Taishan nuclear plant shutdown worry UK regulators?

Should the Taishan nuclear plant shutdown worry UK regulators? China is
not well known for its commitment to an open government. So the information
now published, as to why one of its new nuclear plants at Taishan has been
shut down for over six months, is potentially very worrying for the UK.

The closure is owing to cracked fuel rods that emerged after only one operating
cycle. Why is it worrying? Taishan is the only completed example in the
world of the prototype EPR being constructed at Hinkley Point in Somerset,
and scheduled for Sizewell in Suffolk. And the implications for the
viability of both of these £20bn+ ‘investments’ are potentially very
serious.

The Business Department is taking no responsibility for analysing
these implications. Instead, a spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that,
“If the British Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) considered that any
nuclear site was not safe or secure, it would not be allowed to operate.”


So, is the ONR keeping a beady eye upon the Taishan problems? Er, no. In
response to a Freedom of Information request from Sussex University this
January, the ONR admitted it ‘holds no information relating to design
flaws regarding Taishan, or indeed any information that suggests this
claimed design flaw has or may impact either Hinkley Point C or Sizewell
C’.

But this must mean the ONR cannot have made any inquiries as to these
possible design flaws, because if so they would by definition hold some
information. Given the amount of worldwide media attention the issue has
had, most people would rightly think the ONR is simply not discharging its
duty.

 Electrical Review 16th Feb 2022

February 17, 2022 - Posted by | China, safety, UK

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