Nuclear power blow as safety checks keep Scots atomic station shut until 2019

Hunterston B nuclear power station
Hunterston B nuclear power station

The discovery of more cracks in the ‘cladding’ that prevents radioactivity leaking from one of the two reactors at Hunterston-B will keep the Scottish nuclear power station shut until 2019.

Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation was informed in March about root cracks found during planned inspections of the graphite bricks in the core of Reactor 3 at Hunterston by its owner, the French nuclear giant EDF.

The reactor has been offline since March and was due to come back online this month, but EDF Energy has now extended the off-line repairs that will keep the plant from generating electricity until at least December this year.

Hunterston-B station director Colin Weir said that the un-scheduled shut down will reduce the station’s output by 40% – about 3 terawatt hours – this year.

Hunterston B, near Largs, has been generating electricity since 1976. Last year, it produced enough electricity for 1.8 million homes. It is due to close permanently in five years’ time.

EDF said the operation of its other UK reactors was not affected by the Hunterston-B safety checks.

4 May 2018

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