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Cracks found in Torness nuclear power station

 Cracks which could increase the risk of a radioactive accident have
appeared at the ageing Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian. The
plant’s operator, EDF Energy, wrote to a local liaison group in February
saying that three cracks had been found in the graphite core of one of the
station’s reactors. According to EDF, the cracks were “entirely
expected” and would not “on their own” affect the safe operation of
the power station.

But campaigners are calling on the company to bring
forward the closure date of Torness, currently set for 2028. In May 2020
The Ferret reported evidence from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)
suggesting that cracks at Torness could lead to a meltdown which could
result in a radiation leak.

In 2020 the ONR predicted the reactors at
Torness would start cracking in 2022, six years sooner than had previously
been thought. This prompted EDF to bring the plant’s planned closure date
forward by two years, to 2028. Anti-nuclear campaigners now argue that
Torness may need to close “as soon as 2024” to avoid “taking any
unnecessary risks as the cracking gets worse”. ONR inspectors have
previously pointed out that there is a difference in design between Torness
and Hunterston, though. Torness and its sister station – Heysham, near
Lancaster – have seal rings between the graphite bricks that make up the
reactor core.

According to the nuclear consultant and critic, Pete Roche,
“logic suggests” that the closure date of Torness should be brought
forward to 2024 or “soon after”. Roche said: “EDF will obviously be
hoping it can keep Torness open as long as possible, but it was only in May
2020 that we learnt that the cores of the two reactors were predicted to
start cracking in 2022, six years earlier than previously thought.
“Torness has a significant design difference, compared with Hunterston B,
likely to make the problem worse. Torness may actually need to close as
early as 2024 – six years earlier than the previously planned 2030 date
– or soon after to avoid taking any unnecessary risks as the cracking
gets worse.” 
The Ferret 6th April 2022

April 7, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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