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United Kingdom Earth Power

Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK 120

Posted by samzenpus
from the closing-the-doors dept.
mdsolar writes EDF Energy, the British subsidiary of the French state-controlled utility, said on Monday that it was shutting down three nuclear reactors and that a reactor with a fault that has been shut down since June would remain so. The facilities, which are being investigated as a precaution, generate nearly a quarter of nuclear capacity in Britain. The British Office for Nuclear Regulation said that there had been no release of radioactive material and no injuries. Industry experts did not anticipate much effect on electricity supplies or prices in the short term. EDF said that over the next few days it would idle a second reactor at the facility, Heysham 1, in northwest England. The company said it would also shut down two other reactors of similar design at Hartlepool in northeast England to investigate whether they had the same flaws.
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

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  • not big in UK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iggymanz (596061) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:15PM (#47651189)

    UK gets about 18% of its power from nuclear (before this shutdown). Four new plants are planned at two sites that EDF energy owns, ground broken for those

    • Re:not big in UK (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:21PM (#47651243)

      Yeah, but like you said, the present neocon government is willing to give HUGE corporate welfare to make new nuclear reactor plans viable.

      I used to be entirely pro-nuclear on a scientific basis. Now I see how humans behave in practice when it comes to the trade-off between safety and profit/reputation. I see how much nuclear power is really reverse Hollywood accounting, where you hide how much of the real cost is borne by government. And I would prefer a transition from fossil directly to renewable, even if that means overriding the whiny bitches who somehow think fracking is safer and more economic than wind because you can't actually SEE what's happening underground.

      • by Mikkeles (698461)

        True, but this seems to apply to all large scale power generation, whether it's land for hydro or windmills (and screw the people living there who have to put up with it or move) or cash for nuclear. To say nothing of externalizing the environmental costs.

        It's called subsidizing (if you disagree with it) or incentivising (if you do).

        • We just had two major off shore wind farm projects blocked on the Norfolk coast (thats Norfolk, UK) because of "environmental concerns", and one fell through a few years back because of NIMBYs not wanting the power cable link up to go through their general area.

          The entire thing is a joke - even renewable energy projects run into major "environmental" issues :/

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by cheesybagel (670288)

        'Renewable' fuels are a misnomer. The sun will run out of fuel too sometime. When that happens you can forget about solar panels or windmills.

        Of course that's in geological timescales so it does not matter. There is enough nuclear fission fuel to last for thousands of years so that is irrelevant as well. As for oil we have been using it for over a century by now and it seems we haven't ran out of it yet.

        • by dfsmith (960400)

          'Renewable' fuels are a misnomer. The sun will run out of fuel too sometime.

          But the sun is renewable. Where do you think our current Sun came from? Recycled stars.

          • Go to Wikipedia and read the entry on Entropy.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Of course that's in geological timescales so it does not matter.

          Astronomical, actually. It takes millions of years for continental drift to change the face of the Earth, while Sun requires a hundred times that much to change significantly.

          As for oil we have been using it for over a century by now and it seems we haven't ran out of it yet.

          The price of oil has risen a lot recently, and there's talk and even practical attempts to tap unconventional sources, which are far more expensive to extract than conven

        • We aren't going to run out of fossil fuels at any time. They will get harder and more expensive to acquire, and therefore production will go down over time, but there will always be some left that is not economically recoverable until the price goes up. Moreover, getting those fuels out of the ground is going to require more and more energy. If we keep doing this long enough, we'll be mining and drilling at a net loss in energy.

          So, although technically we aren't going to run out of them, we will for p

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        I used to be entirely pro-nuclear on a scientific basis. Now I see how humans behave in practice when it comes to the trade-off between safety and profit/reputation. I see how much nuclear power is really reverse Hollywood accounting, where you hide how much of the real cost is borne by government. And I would prefer a transition from fossil directly to renewable

        And could you explain how your "renewables" will be significantly cheaper than nuclear? Or not take up shitloads of space for the same amount of p

      • Yeah, but like you said, the present neocon government is willing to give HUGE corporate welfare to make new nuclear reactor plans viable.

        Given that Nuclear power is the best way to reduce CO2 emissions, wouldn't that make sense?
        http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]
        Check out the silver consumption of Solar... silver mining is terrible for the environment.
        Keep in mind the graph doesn't track CO2 output of burning the fuel itself. So Coal, oil, natural gas and biomass fuels would have huge CO2 impacts. Biomass consumes much of what it produces, but it still imbalances CO2 levels throughout the seasons (spikes in the winter, troughs in the summer) H

        • Solar don't necessarily needs silver. There are different designs. Plus keep an eye on new battery technologies and smart grid. Solar will surely be the main energy resource for quite sometime. Even if nuclear will be used, there are cheaper and extremely secure(leaking wise) reactor designs with nearly no unusable radioactive waste. They are smaller though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rei (128717)

          My BS detector went off when I saw that graph, so I had to actually read the paper... and now I understand the graph and it's not at all what it seems to be.

          See that giant circle for silver? That doesn't mean "a massive amount of silver", or even "a massive amount of environmental impact from silver". These circles are sized proportionally to how much more of a resource is needed than in the current generation mix, if all power came from that source. Since almost no silver is used in the current generation

          • by MrL0G1C (867445)

            Indeed that 'Scientific' American graph reeks of bias against renewables.

            I'd like to see their explanation of how uranium doesn't require the largest amount of energy to process or that somehow the nuclear industry doesn't use much uranium relative to all of the other industries.

            Also noted that they make weasely comments against solar and wind but not coal etc (growing crops for fuel is retarded outright).

            I'm getting sick of all the bad science coming out of supposedly good institutions. There's been the BS

            • by brambus (3457531)

              And the spurious crap like [...] wind power is too intermittent

              Indeed, who could ever present such slanderous accusations? Oh wait, how about actual grid measurements [imgur.com]? (Aggregate German whole-grid performance numbers from Dec 2013 broken down by source.)

          • by dkf (304284)

            And the study itself notes, "Silver in PV cells might be replaced by other metals".

            What's more, the total amount of silver required by world industry has been dropping a lot recently due to the switch to digital photography. Silver availability really isn't a problem.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        Part of the problem is that without government incentives/subsidies, companies will go for the highest-profit methods of power generation available.

        Which means that the only plants built will be fossil fuel plants.

        I don't believe that we currently have the technology to fully switch to renewable and won't for a few decades. Nuclear provides that bridge - Ideally after one more generation of nuclear reactors (modern designs are FAR safer than the existing ones) we'll have the storage technology to properly

        • Part of the problem is that fossil fuels have massive externalities, which distort the market much like government subsidies do. As far as I can tell, nukes and renewables have much less in the way of externalities than coal.

    • Re:not big in UK (Score:5, Informative)

      by DaveAtWorkAnnoyingly (655625) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:21PM (#47651247)
      Ground isn't broken and the company hasn't even committed to building them yet. (I work for EDF Energy)
      • $27 billion for Hinkley Point....
        • by weilawei (897823)

          From Telegraph [telegraph.co.uk]:

          EDF expects to miss its own deadline for deciding whether to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, the Telegraph can disclose.

          The French energy giant announced in October that it planned to take a final investment decision on the £16bn Hinkley Point C plant by July, after striking a landmark subsidy deal with government.

          But it now believes that an ongoing European Commission investigation into whether the subsidies are illegal state aid will not be fully resolved until autumn, forcing its decision on the Somerset plant back until then.

          The delay could threaten EDF’s plans to deliver first power from the plant in 2023 – a timescale it had said was “subject to a final investment decision by July 2014”.

          EDF has been at pains to insist it can deliver Hinkley “on time and on budget”, despite its Flamanville reactor in France being dogged by cost blowouts and years of delays.

          From EDF [edfenergy.com]:

          6 May 14
          Phase II preparatory works begin on site

          At this phase of the project these works help to prepare the site ahead of the main construction following a final investment decision. These initial works include the construction of roundabouts, temporary construction roads and drainage works, all of which are reversible. Visit our community hub to see the planned works.

          They appear to be building housing and beefing up the roads, but a final investment decision appears to have been postponed.

        • by MrL0G1C (867445)

          Wow, what a ginormous waste of money - does it even include the massive subsidies that they will get for the electricity as they rob the taxpayer to pay their share-holders.

          Some quick math, $27b would buy 20GW of solar panels at consumer retail price, 13GW installed utility scale.

          $27bil could buy 62 to 101GWh of battery storage.

          And how big is this nuclear power station going to be? Only 3.2GW

          • by mdsolar (1045926)
            I think England is culturally tied to the idea of keeping the home fires burning which give nuclear power a kind of hold on them that technically it does not merit. That may explain the huge price they are willing to pay.
            • by dkf (304284)

              I think England is culturally tied to the idea of keeping the home fires burning which give nuclear power a kind of hold on them that technically it does not merit. That may explain the huge price they are willing to pay.

              The English power consumption profile is winter-biased, and that's when loss of power can really cause trouble. Politicians think it is better (in electoral terms) to over-spend than to have the lights (and heating!) go out; they may be right on that.

              • by mdsolar (1045926)
                Yes, but it takes a while for the penny to drop that synthesizing methane using wind power would be more reliable. Nuclear seems more like a fire pit in a Saxon shelter than that.
          • Re:Jaw dropping (Score:4, Insightful)

            by brambus (3457531) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @10:46AM (#47654857)
            You made the very basic error of comparing nameplate capacity. You also need to consider capacity factor, which for solar in UK latitudes is around 0.1 - 0.15, whereas the EPRs that they plan to construct here are 0.9. So taking that into account, your 13 GW utility scale solar suddenly shrinks to <2 GW, whereas the nuclear plant is still around 3 GW. So before we even get to dispatchability of the power source and seasonal loading, solar loses by about 1/3 to the most wildly overpriced nuclear power plant I've ever seen in my life. Next you need to consider that the nuclear plant is planned to operate for 60 years, whereas the solar plant is most likely going to need replacement after 30 or at most 40 years. Finally, the $27B cost of the plant seems to me to be wildly out of whack with what these very same reactors cost in places like China [wikipedia.org] (cheaper by about a factor of 4x). Meanwhile Russia is also building modern VVER-1200s [wikipedia.org] at an equivalent cost of 4x cheaper than the plant in the UK. Make of this what you will, but it appears to me that the western world is losing its industrial prowess and losing it fast.
            • I'm very pro nuclear. But the problem isn't VVER-1200 vs EPR vs AP1000.
              The problem is water cooled, solid fuel nukes. Plus the sum of all regulatory/political costs of building a nuclear reactor in an anti nuclear environment.
              An IFR plant can cost less than a similarly sized water cooled reactor (BN800 reactor estimated at US$ 2 billion, so 2xBN800 is about 20% larger than your usual 1330MWe reactor), however an IFR reactor uses essentially free fuel (spent nuclear fuel aka nuclear waste + depleted uranium)

              • by brambus (3457531)

                I would agree that the regulatory environment in the west is hell-bent on killing any and all new projects, but you really can't blame them for being super-duper careful, as they have a hysterical public to deal with who perceive any failure, however small, as a catastrophe, thanks in large part due to media hype and fear mongering by news outlets and environmental groups. In Russia and China, meanwhile, the public realize that realistically it's either nuclear, with its occasional potential radiation relea

                • > IFR fuel is still solid fuel rods
                  Are you sure ? How is the core fuel be reprocessed with the fuel in solid fuel rods ? Will have to destroy / recreate the cladding before/after each reprocessing event ?
                  Doesn't make much sense.
                  The only design with an integral reprocessing facility I studied at a deep enough level was the Thorium LFTR and that uses the fuel molten with the primary coolant... So I wrongly assumed, but still it doesn't make sense vis-a-vis reprocessing.

                  • by brambus (3457531)

                    In IFR the cladding is loose-fitting, so the spent fuel is extracted from that. Since it isn't oxidized but is instead in pure metallic form, no oxide reduction step by way of an acid bath is necessary. The fuel pellets are simply melted and gaseous fission products are driven off. Next the molten mass is placed in a molten salt bath and an electroplating process extracts uranium and plutonium in metallic form onto an electrode (along with a little bit of fission products - this is serves as radiation shiel

    • by Alioth (221270)

      As of today, the UK is still getting this much from nuclear (19% right at this very moment). The shutdowns don't seem to have really made much of a decrease in the total nuclear supply.

      http://www.gridwatch.templar.c... [templar.co.uk]

  • by haruchai (17472) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:16PM (#47651203)

    Taking that many GW-hrs of production offline for that length of time is a serious outage.
    Greater modularity would allow for a quicker ID of the scope of the problem, even if the total time to repair or replace would be greater.

    • These plants were built in the 70s, and have been running for quite a while. They are AGR models, very few build and troublesome compared to most of the PWR designs. Despite that, they have generated a bunch of power, and probably will continue to as soon as the issues are worked out.
    • These reactors are relatively new, "commissioned in 1983", but that's still over twenty years old. The main goals of reactor design are safety and efficiency. With that in mind I'm sure they've done quite a bit of design work on making these things more maintenance friendly. Especially since the shutdowns are precautionary after they found a problem at the first one. They're searching for something that may not even exist.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Taking that many GW-hrs of production offline for that length of time is a serious outage.

      It's still summer here, so there's probably lots of space capacity elsewhere. Few homes have air conditioning, the outside temperature tomorrow is forecast to peak at 21C in London. August is the month with the lowest demand.

      There are some graphs and dials here: http://www.gridwatch.templar.c... [templar.co.uk]

      I'm surprised nuclear power varies over the year -- does anyone know why?

      • by DamonHD (794830)

        Maintenance and refuelling is done when demand is low, eg in summer.

        In the UK I don't think any nukes explicitly load-follow, unlike in France for example, though one (Sizewell B) could.

        Rgds

        Damon

        • by DaveAtWorkAnnoyingly (655625) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:48PM (#47651739)
          Correct. Sizewell B can load follow, but we (I work there) haven't done this for years. It is however getting more likely due to the increasingly unstable nature of the National Grid, partly due to lots of smaller generators of which the grid has no control over coming online (windfarms). I believe the AGRs can also load follow. The nukes generate at baseload, full output, whenever they're on. Our frequency control is maintained by the coal and gas generators.
    • by sjames (1099)

      It wouldn't help in this case. The shutdown is precautionary until they can determine if the problem is systematic due to a design flaw or not. In a more modular system, they would still have to shut down all of the modules until they could make the determination.

    • One imagines that sort of thing comes with using non-prehistoric reactor designs.

      • One imagines that sort of thing comes with using non-prehistoric reactor designs.

        How about a power source that shuts down every single night. That would suck, wouldn't it?

        • by haruchai (17472)

          Like the Sun? Yeah, that would suck unless you could temporarily store some of that heat.

          But the Sun is a nuclear reactor and imagine if we found a flaw that could cause it to prematurely explode.
          I guess all we'd have to do is take it offline for up to 8 weeks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    a reactor with a fault that has been shut down since June would remain so

    The reactor, in fact, doesn't have a fault. There was a potential issue identified in the heat exchanger at one unit, found during a routine check, and the others have been shut down early to allow the heat exchangers at those to also be checked earlier than scheduled.

    As much as mdsolar wishes it was, this is in fact a non-issue. The system and safety protocols are working precisely as they were designed.

    • by haruchai (17472)

      It's hardly a non-issue when you're taking gigawatt-hrs of baseload offline for 2 months.
      Granted, it's not such a big issue in summer but that's just dumb luck. This could just have easily happened in mid-winter although it would be much easier to keep a gas-cooled reactor cooled in February than in August. :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Captain Hook (923766)

      The system and safety protocols are working precisely as they were designed.

      Actually, the faults were found by chance, there wasn't a specific check for this which could be scheduled and signed off, it was just an engineer noticed something odd while doing other inspections.

      So while you are right in that this is not a huge safety issue and we weren't minutes from disaster, I wouldn't agree that the system and safety protocols are particularly brilliant either.

  • Heysham (Score:2, Troll)

    by GrahamCox (741991)
    I once designed a huge display clock for the reception area of Heysham nuclear power station. The clock had a sweep second hand that traced out a ring of LEDs once per minute, and a counter that showed the number of days since the last industrial accident. The specification called for this counter to have just three digits, which frankly didn't inspire much confidence.
    • You are mis-representing the clock. It is common to have a clock for continuous days without an outage, 3 digits would be up to 999, which is well beyond the refueling cycle. Its a measure to show the results of their preventative maintenance and operations effectiveness, and quite impressive numbers are often achieved. Some plants do clocks for number of days without a workplace injury, which is typical of any industry, and also pretty much unheard of to go 999 days with the type of maintenance activities
      • by GrahamCox (741991)
        I can assure you it was not for time between nuclear accidents, but don't let that little truth stop you from you from making a slant.

        I never claimed it was. I designed the thing; it was pretty clear they meant industrial accident in the normal sense of someone cutting themselves, dropping a hammer on their foot, etc. Nevertheless it struck me as a strange thing to want to put on display, because no matter what value the display showed up to 999, it would either be misinterpreted (e.g. as a nuclear accid
        • It's not meant to be "impressive", it's simply meant to be honest. All the sites do it, and anyway, three years (~999 days) without an industrial accident leading to time off work is impressive for any large industrial site that employs about 600 full time staff and another 300 odd contractors.
    • by nukenerd (172703)

      a counter that showed the number of days since the last industrial accident. The specification called for this counter to have just three digits, which frankly didn't inspire much confidence.

      I don't think you know what counts as an "industrial accident". You seem to think it means a Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. I have worked in such industries and a cook in the canteen cutting her hand with a potato peeler counts as an industial accident. I'm not exagerating. That did happen where I work and the fuss about that cut hand went on for days - we were called in to "refresher" safety lectures, circulars were sent round, we were sick of hearing about it. The cook herself was no doubt highly em

  • Sigh! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:10PM (#47651551)
    Although it seems like they've recognized and are addressing a minor engineering issue before it becomes a problem, it seems like this will be portrayed as another in a continuing series of black eyes for the nuclear alternative to our energy needs.

    There is no present, perfect way to deliver the electricity those of us on the grid have come to appreciate. When you're talking about the mainstays of the grid's backbone (coal, crude, gas, hydroelectric, nuclear), none are generated without environmental consequence.

    Continue to develop the renewables, but for fuck's sake, don't take nuclear off the table based on the performance of aging plants.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by rogoshen1 (2922505)

      Isn't that awesome?

      IF they address issues in a safe and responsible manner, they get slammed.
      If they ignore it, and a meltdown occurs, it's even worse.
      If they do what needs to be done to avoid a meltdown/accident, but don't tell anyone, they get accused of sweeping things under the rug.

      Oh, and they get the Nimbitards all riled up if they decide to build new plants; despite in part, building the new plants to address the concerns raised by the NIMBY types over the old plants.

      =/

      (Yes, you could say just ditch

    • Re:Sigh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @03:39AM (#47653201) Homepage

      There are two issues unique to nuclear that case people not to want it.

      1. The extreme cost. As you are probably aware, the UK government has had to guarantee well above the going rate for energy generated from new nuclear plants for their entire lifetimes just to get them built. Even so, only the Chinese are interested in doing it. Current plants were built by the government that literally could not give them away in the 80s when they were privatised, until it agreed to shoulder most of the costs of running and decommissioning them.

      2. Single point of failure. As this event demonstrates problems with reactors can knock gigawatts off the grid for long periods of time. Other sources tend not to suffer from that kind of failure, and some sources like wind are extremely widely distributed and fault tolerant.

      As for judging nuclear by the performance of ageing plants, the newer designs are not significantly better in any of these areas. We can see what other countries are building and they have all the same problems.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        1. Yes but there are also benefits, in that nuclear produces low-CO2 base load reliably. In any developed economy, that ability to maintain a reliable base load is worth far more economically than the capex upfront cost.

        2. If you're running your generating capacity so close to the edge that a single shutdown takes you below demand, you're doing it wrong anyway. Reactors are routinely shut down for inspection and refuelling anyway. Note that these 4 reactors are currently shut down, and it hasn't impacted
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        1. Yes, when the government mandates that something MUST be privatized the result is that companies take advantage of the government requirement, especially when there is essentially no competition. Its like a tax auction, you don't walk in with a high bid, you start with the absolute lowest possible one you can. Would you rather pay %50 of the price of your next car, or sticker price plus $20k?

        2. They shut down 4 reactors and there is no perceivable impact and none expected for any time in the near futu

  • These are just boiler cracks - sorry the apocalypse is not going to happen. Power draw is low at this time of year so there is no real affect on national electricity resources.

    Phil

  • May have to close (Score:5, Informative)

    by mdsolar (1045926) on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:22PM (#47652133) Homepage Journal
    "The reactor problems highlight that most of Britain’s nuclear installations, which generate about 20 percent of the country’s electricity, are approaching the end of their lives. The four EDF reactors under investigation were commissioned in 1983 and are officially scheduled to be removed from service in 2019. EDF Energy had been expected to seek extensions to the lives of the plants, but if the problems turn out to be too expensive to be worth fixing, then they might end up being permanently closed sooner than expected. “If this fault is as a result of the aging of the unit, this has potential implications for the operational life of these four units and, potentially, others as well,” said Antony Froggatt, a nuclear analyst at Chatham House, a London research organization."
    • by tomhath (637240)
      A couple of big "if this and if that" in the quote. If the repair is cheap and safe they could run the reactors for another 20 years.
  • It's things like this that are the answer to the "just build a standard reactor everywhere and have an economy of scale" folks. The other answer is that since nuclear power, more than all other alternative energies, is still in a process of improvement so it makes little sense to have a fifteen year plan to build a lot of identical reactors when there could be a vast improvement in ten years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @05:13AM (#47653413)

    Although the story link in your summary seems factually correct, the slashdot summary is qute wrong.

    EDF Energy as a whole supplies 25% of the UK's energy needs (57.5 GW peak in 2012) with 16 nuclear reactors (about 9.9 GW of capicity) and 7 conventional coal and gas turbines (3,4 GW of capacity) and various renewable energy sources with about 1,5GW of capacity. Of the 16 reactors, 1 is a pressurised water reactor (PWR) and 15 are avanced gas reactors (AGR) and four of these AGRs are of the same design as Dungeness B with the faulty boiler pump. There are only 4 of those reactors offline and only 3 of which are offline for unscheduled maintenance and the other twelve are still running. Just because EDf Energy has 15 AGRs it doesn't mean that all 15 have the same boiler pumps as Dungeness B. Dungeness B has been shut down since june due to a pump failure and two other reactors were shutdown for an inspection of similar pumps. The fourth reactor currently shutdown (Heysham 1) is in a scheduled outage and Hartepool 1 pumps will be inspected in a schedue outage later this month.

    You can see the current status of EDF Energies AGR reactors

    http://www.edfenergy.com/energy/power-station/daily-statuses

    or

    http://www.edfenergy.com/energy

    So the real impact of this problem is in fact only three reactors offline that should have been functional with a capicity of about 1,6 GW. As ratio of EDF energies total production capicity of 14,8 GW this is 12% of their capacity of 3% of the UKs total energy production capacity. As its summer the energy needs of the UK are in fact reduced and most scheduled outages of nuclear reactors in Europe and performed in this period are this reason, so a 3% loss of capacity in summer is frankly nothing.

    D.

    • by FirstOne (193462)

      This is not about a defective boiler pump.. It's about a reoccurring problem with broken boiler re-enforcing wires

      They found a broken boiler spine in 2007, and spent 150 million pounds investigating fixes.. from what I've read they found more corroded/broken per-stressed re-enforcing spines.

      excerpt from report dated Sept 2010 [onr.org.uk],

      "3.4. Leaking pressure vessel cooling water was also found to have entered a chamber containing BCU pre-stressing wires and as a consequence of this, a programme of radiography to re

  • I am really surprised that Britain continued to use graphite moderators in their power reactors. the Wigner effect of neutron poisoning in the moderator was very well known going into the 50s, making those reactors somewhat unpredictable. after Windscale, they should have known better.

  • You could say the Brits have a BONR for nuclear power. Why, oh why couldn't it have been Nuclear Energy Regulation?

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