Nuclear reactor restart “not worth the risk”

Hunterston b nuclear power station

Hunterston B. Image credit Jonathonchampton

Permission has been granted to resume power generation at the Hunterston B nuclear plant.

21st August 2019 by Gavin Stuart 2 Comments

Friends of the Earth Scotland has said nuclear power is “not worth the risk” as work gets under way to restart a reactor at the Hunterston B power plant.

Reactor four at the facility was shut down in March 2018 after hundreds of cracks were observed in graphite bricks within the core.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has now ruled that operator EDF can restart the reactor for a period of four months.

Reactor three is also currently offline because of cracks in its graphite bricks. The ONR has yet to grant permission for the reactor to be restarted.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said nuclear energy was “not worth the risk”, and called for more investment in renewables to meet the country’s future energy needs.

He said: "Nuclear energy is dangerous, unaffordable and unreliable. For some electricity today, we are leaving a thousand generations of future humans dangerous radioactive waste.

"Restarting the Hunterston reactors is definitely not worth the risk. Most people in Scotland will not even have noticed these reactors at Hunterston have been offline for so long, as dependable renewable energy has more than made up for the difference. Renewables had another record-breaking first quarter of 2019 supplying nine out of ten households in Scotland.

“The nuclear industry is doing a great job of showing how terrible a bet nuclear is. The industry is almost unique in that every new reactor costs more than the last, while everything else gets cheaper, including offshore wind power which is now coming in at just over half the price of nuclear for a unit of energy.

"The Scottish and UK governments should be investing in building the renewable energy economy, creating decent green jobs and delivering a just transition for workers and communities as we move away from dirty energy.”

Hunterston B is located around six miles from Largs in North Ayrshire. The plant first went online in 1976, and is expected to be decommissioned in 2023.

21st August 2019 by Stuart Hunter

You've got a couple of items either incorrect or misleading in the words chosen. Firstly it's reactor 4 that has been given permission to restart - not Reactor 3 as you indicate. Secondly while it is somewhat true to for you to say that the cracks were "discovered" the use of that specific word suggests something unexpected. To the contrary, the cracking mechanism was predicted years in advance and it was the the licensee's regular and routine inspection programme that has been monitoing their development.

21st August 2019 by lok yue

The yawn worthy 'decent green jobs' again. What are they please? Nuclear produces, 24 hours a day365 days a year. Solar slows under cloud and stops at night. Wind power stops the the wind does. Oh yes, renewables produced sufficient energy to power houses, a relatively small percentage of the country power needs. Nobody is saying that renewables cannot supplement nuclear but anybody saying we are remotely close to replacing conventional systems with renewables is being seduced by green fables