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Hinkley Point B nuclear station to close ‘early’ due to aging graphite blocks

Nuclear Engineering International 3rd March 2021, REPORTS IN THE UK THAT EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point B station would close ‘early’, in 2022, sounded a strange note for nuclear industry veterans. They knew that the venerable advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) on the west coast, on its startup in 1979, was originally expected to have a lifetime of around 25 years.
But in fact, it has been in operation for 40 years and could have more than one more year remaining, if owner EDF Energy takes it to its final end date in mid 2022. But those newspapers had noted that EDF  had hoped to delay final shutdown until 2023. For longstanding opponents of the plant, however, closure comes not a moment too soon — and they believe equally that operation should end at the UK’s remaining AGRs.
At issue is the interlocking graphite blocks that in the AGR design form the reactor core. Opponents argue that years of irradiation have caused so much damage to the blocks that the plants should be out of operation. This is indeed one of the ageing issues that affects AGRs, but the situation, and the decision on whether to close the plant, is more complicated.

March 6, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, safety, UK | Leave a comment

From both UK and Ireland – calls for independent review into dumping Hinkley nuclear mud into the sea

Nation Cymru 29th Jan 2021, Campaigners on both sides of the Bristol Channel have called for a full independent review into proposals to dump mud from the construction of a
nuclear power plant in the sea off the coast of Cardiff, following the
announcement that a new dumping site off the Somerset coast is also being

Despite public opposition, in 2018 the Welsh Government
permitted EDF to dump large quantities of mud dredged from construction of
the new Hinkley C nuclear power plant at the Cardiff Deep Grounds inshore
disposal site. EDF insisted the site- only two miles from Cardiff Bay –
was the only suitable site available in the Bristol Channel.

Earlier this month EDF announced its intention to apply to the Marine Management
Organisation (MMO) for a license to dump at Portishead, while also making a
further application to dump at the Cardiff site. No reason has been given
by EDF for the Portishead proposal.

In a joint statement issued with Stop Hinkley and the Geiger Bay campaign, UK & Ireland Nuclear Free LocalAuthorities Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“NFLA was surprised to hear that EDF are now seeking to look at dumping
mud from the Hinkley Point site off the Somerset coast in addition to
continuing to look to dump off the south Wales coast.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Ireland, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Half a £billion here, half a £billion there – the costs of Hinkley Point C go up again

NFLA 28th Jan 2021, Half a billion here, half a billion there – the costs of Hinkley Point C
go up again, just as Hitachi finally gives up on Wylfa B.

The UK & Ireland .Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) note with little surprise the announcement from EDF Energy that the costs of building the Hinkley Point C has gone up again, now to an eye-watering £23 billion.

It also comes as the Japanese nuclear utility Hitachi formally withdraws its interest from the possible development of the Wylfa B site, criticising the UK Government’s lack of support in its decision.

January 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

EDF plans 2 new sites for dumping radioactive mud dredged from Hinkley Point

NFLA 27th Jan 2021, The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), the ‘Stop
Hinkley’ campaign and the ‘Geiger Bay’ campaign have been involved in
raising concerns over the dumping of large amounts of dredged materials
from the EDF site at Hinkley Point into sites between the south Wales and
the Somerset coast.
In a surprise move to the groups, EDF, which is
building a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point, has announced that the
Portishead marine disposal site LU070 is now a possible dumping ground for
the seabed sediment it is seeking to dredge from Bridgwater Bay in order to
sink cooling water intake and outfall tunnels for the new reactors at
Hinkley Point.
Despite major public opposition in Wales, in 2018 the Welsh
Government permitted EDF to dump large quantities of Hinkley C dredged mud
at the Cardiff Deep Grounds inshore disposal site, only 2 miles off the
Cardiff Bay sea front.
This came after EDF insisted that it was the only
suitable site available in the Bristol Channel. However, EDF has recently
announced its intention to apply to the Marine Management Organisation
(MMO) for a license to dump at Portishead, while also making a further
application to dump at the existing Welsh site. No reason has been given by
EDF for the Portishead proposal.

January 29, 2021 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Ho hum – another delay, another cost rise – for the beleaguered Hinkley nuclear power project

Somerset Live 27th Jan 2021, The new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station’s Unit 1 planned openinghas been delayed by around six months and the cost of the project is
expected to rise again, the energy firm behind the plant revealed. EDF said
significant progress has been made on the site in Somerset but the start of
electricity generation is now expected in June 2026, compared with previous
estimates of an opening date at the end of 2025. The cost for the project
is now estimated at between £22 billion and £23 billion, compared with
projected costs of £21.5 billion and £22.5 billion announced in 2019. The
coronavirus crisis led to a number of changes on the Hinkley site,
including reducing the number of workers to enable social distancing, and
concentrating on the most critical areas of construction.

January 28, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Pandemic adds to delays and costs of Hinkley Point C nuclear project

January 28, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, health, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C mud dredging – radioactive mud could be dumped off Somerset instead of south Wales.

Hinkley Mud. BBC 7th Jan 2021,  Mud dredged as part of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant construction could start being dumped off Somerset instead of south Wales. Developer EDF
Energy is considering two sites in the Bristol Channel.
They include Cardiff Grounds, where sediment dumping in 2018 provoked extensive protests
over concerns the mud was contaminated by nuclear waste. But a private disposal site off Portishead, on the England side of the channel, is also under consideration. A public outcry over the original mud dumping led to protests and petitions attracting hundreds of thousands of signatures online, a full Senedd debate and an acknowledgment by both the developers
and Natural Resources Wales that better communication with the public was needed over the plans.

January 9, 2021 Posted by | oceans, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Should £25 billion Hinkley C plant go ahead, with so many safety issues not solved?

David Lowry’s Blog 4th Jan 2021On Christmas Eve last year I received a detailed response to a Freedom of Information request I had made to the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation
[ONR] (I am a member of the chief nuclear inspector’s independent advisory
panel) on the 415 unresolved nuclear safety issues outstanding for the
nuclear licence for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant the north
Somerset coast, 18 miles from the Welsh capital city, Cardiff, across the
Bristol channel. It contains an alarming number of extremely important
unresolved matters.

Should this £25 billion plant really have been given
the regulatory green light with so many safety issues unfinished? It is
nonetheless reassuring that the ONR has been so thorough in flagging up key
matters that need safety resolution.

January 7, 2021 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Sizewell nuclear project could be a costly fiasco like Hinkley Point C

December 15, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s projected high electricity costs for Hinkley nuclear project – a warning for Egypt

All Africa 1st Dec 2020, No official details have yet been given to indicate what the price will be
for electricity generated by the El Dabaa plant that Russia’s state-owned
Rosatom is building in Egypt.
But in 2016, one Egyptian energy expert
predicted that prices per megawatt hour – how much it costs to produce one
megawatt of energy for one hour – from El Dabaa would be at least four
times more than from renewable power sources. Renewable energy prices have
fallen significantly since 2016, while nuclear power has become more
British consumers will pay excessive amounts for electricity
from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station that EDF is building for
decades after the plant is completed. While construction does not follow
the Build-Own-Operate model, EDF negotiated a 35-year power purchase price
linked to inflation with the British government in 2016 to extract as much
profit as possible. The British government’s Public Accounts Committee
conservatively estimated that this deal will cost consumers an additional
$40 billion (about R615 billion) over the 35 years of the contract compared
with alternative energy sources such as solar and wind.

December 3, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Egypt | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point B nuclear power station to be closed down by July 2022

Nuclear power station to close down by 2022, BBC, A nuclear power station in Somerset will be closed down within the next two years.

EDF said Hinkley Point B power station will be decommissioned no later than July 2022……… Once Hinkley Point B stops generating power, EDF will begin defueling the station – the first stage of nuclear decommissioning.,,,

November 23, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point B nuclear reactor offline now, and will be shut down earlier than planned

EDF confirms Hinkley Point B to be shut down earlier than planned

Cracks in reactor’s graphite core leads to decision to begin process no later than July 2022, Jillian Ambrose Energy correspondent, Fri 20 Nov 2020 .  EDF Energy has confirmed it will begin shutting down the 45-year-old reactors at Hinkley Point B nuclear power plant in Somerset within the next two years, earlier than scheduled.

The “defuelling” will begin no later than July 2022, according to the French energy group.

The shutdown was scheduled for 2023, but cracks were discovered in the graphite core of the reactor.

……..  The power plant, which has been Britain’s most productive and whose operational life was extended, is offline for further inspections and is scheduled to return to service next year, pending approval from Britain’s nuclear safety watchdog…….

EDF had expected the shutdown to take place after the start-up of Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear power plant being built in the UK in a generation, which was originally due to begin generating electricity “well before 2020”.

However, the scheduled start date has been delayed to between 2025 and 2026 owing to slow progress in agreeing with the government a guaranteed price for the electricity produced……

Boris Johnson’s 10-point climate plan, which was revealed on Tuesday, promised to advance large-scale nuclear projects and the developments of so-called “mini nuclear reactors” with a £525m support package.

But the plan failed to give the greenlight to EDF Energy’s planned followup to the Hinkley Point C project at the Sizewell site, which the firm hopes to build alongside a Chinese nuclear company.

The NIA said it hoped the government provided a clear path towards new nuclear capacity in an energy white paper, which is expected before Christmas.


November 21, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

UK: Both Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B nuclear power stations will close early due to cracks in graphite cores

Times 20th Nov 2020, The Hinkley Point B nuclear power station will close by July 2022 at the
latest, EDF has announced, triggering renewed calls to invest in
replacement reactors. The Somerset plant started generating in 1976 and was
due to close in 2016 but in 2012 EDF secured an extension until March 2023.
However, the reactor developed cracks in its graphite core, which has
limited its operation. EDF said this summer that the Hunterston B plant in
Scotland, which also has cracks in the core, would close earlier than
planned, in January 2022. Tom Greatrex of the Nuclear Industry Association,
said it was “a reminder of the urgency of investing in new nuclear
capacity to hit net zero”.

November 21, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear now costs twice the price of renewables and the gap is growing. No need for Hinkley C, Sizewell, Bradwell etc

No need for nuclear power, Craven Herald and Pioneer By Lesley Tate, Senior Reporter, 6 Nov 20, Cllr David Noland, Skipton North writes, 

” ………The Green Party have been arguing for many years in recognition of the work by Friends of the Earth, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales and many others, that we do not need ‘further expansion of nuclear and gas turbines’ but to be far more clever about our energy use, easy to do now that renewables are cheaper than nuclear and new gas.

CAT has been at the forefront of development of research on renewable technology and Green building for some 50 years.

Their latest report ‘Zero Carbon Britain (Rising to the Climate Emergency)’ clearly demonstrates that the UK has the tools and technology to efficiently power this country with 100 per cent renewable technology (read the executive summary, it’s only eight pages long).

By using energy more efficiently we can power down by 60 per cent with particularly large savings in heating buildings and transport.

There is absolutely no need for nuclear power in our energy mix and we cannot afford it, let alone pay for cleaning up the sites at the end which taxpayers always end up paying for.

Nuclear now costs twice the price of renewables and the gap is growing.

How many Herald readers know that the electricity from the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor will cost UK consumers £92.50 per Kwh (the most recent offshore wind turbine fields are half of this)?

The deal was signed by (former Prime Minister) Theresa May and supported by Labour and Lib Dems.

The profits are going to the Chinese government which will run it for 40 years. The French firm (EDF) that has been building Hinkley Point and wants to build more nuclear reactors in the UK wants to cushion the financial blow of future nuclear power stations in this country by charging electricity customers a few extra pounds every month on their bill even now.

This is referred to as a new funding model, I’d call it a rip-off. Are people really happy to put billions of pounds into the coffers of the Chinese government and EDF rather than invest, as part of a Green New Deal, in insulation and draught-proofing of UK homes to keep us warmer, take over two and a half million households out of fuel poverty and permanently reduce everyone’s fuel bills.

November 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | 1 Comment

South Wales and the danger of pollution from the dumping of radioactive mud from Hinkley nuclear project

October 22, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment