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Should the UK Re-Open An Old, Cracked Nuclear Reactor?

“Nuclear experts have warned against re-opening a 43-year-old Scottish nuclear reactor riddled with cracks over fears of a meltdown,” writes the Daily Mirror.

An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Hunterston B nuclear power plant was shut down last year after it was found that Reactor 3 had almost 400 cracks in it — exceeding the operational limit. EDF, which own the plant in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, are pushing to return the reactor to service at the end of June and July and want to extend the operational limit of crack allowed from 350 to 700. However, the plans to reopen the plant have sparked fears it could lead to a nuclear meltdown similar to the 1986 Chernoybl disaster.

Experts have warned that in the very worst case the hot graphite core could become exposed to air and ignite leading to radioactive contamination and evacuation of a large area of Scotland’s central belt — including Glasgow and Edinburgh. According to Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, and Dr David Toke, Reader in Energy Policy at the University of Aberdeen, the two reactors definitely should not be restarted…
The plant, which is more than 40 years old, can generate enough electricity to power more than 1.7 million homes, and is one of Britain’s eight nuclear plants which provide around 20 percent of the country’s electricity.

Nuclear expert Professor Neil Hyat reminds The Sun that the reactor will be shut down by 2030 — and “possibly earlier.”


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