Published: October 25, 2006
Hinkley Point power station 'may never open again' say campaigners

Hinkley Point B nuclear power station near Burnham-On-SeaQuestions are being raised about the future of Hinkley Point B nuclear power station, near Burnham-On-Sea.

Both its advanced gas-cooled reactors are currently shut down and campaigners say it may never open again.

Problems at the plant include cracks in a reactor's graphite core, and cracks in boiler pipes, which are currently being repaired by engineers.

British Energy said the cracks are within its safety plan and the decommissioning date is 2011. The company brought forward a safety inspection after the cracked pipes were revealed. Documents state it cannot make a safety case for the graphite core to cover the next 10 years of the plant's life, as it will not last that long.

A statement from British Energy said: "All British Energy nuclear power stations operate under safety cases agreed and signed off by The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. Without this safety case approval, our stations would not operate. The documents reflect only a fragment of the on-going dialogue that British Energy has with its regulator."

"The graphite cores are made up of a number of graphite bricks arranged in layers. It is accepted... that cracks will occur in some of the bricks as part of the normal ageing process within the graphite reactor core."

Jim Duffy, of the Stop Hinkley group, added: "The boiler tube cracks are a fundamental problem. Given we've got graphite problems I can't see it opening again."

RELATED LINKS:

Cracks in boiler pipes force temporary closure of Hinkley Point

Earlier check-up for Hinkley Point power station

Hinkley gas release 'posed no risk' to people in Burnham

Hinkley Point power station 'smoke' sighting was a false alarm

New document reveals hidden fears about Hinkley Point power station

Hinkley Point gets all-clear after Environment Agency radiation checks

 


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