Heysham’s Graphite Core Clapped Out? No Probs..Just Change the Rules!

Heysham 1 ?
Heysham 1 ?

Last week the Station Manager of Heysham 1 Ian Stewart, had a Podium piece in the Westmorland Gazette.  The piece was the usual puffed up nonsense we have come to expect of the nuclear industry extolling the “low carbon” credentials and “safety” of the industry and Heysham 1 in particular.   Far from being low carbon, nuclear entrenches fossil fuel dependence.   Independent scientist  Dr Ian Fairlie has pointed out in this weeks Ecologist:

“The most thorough UK examination of nuclear’s potential carbon savings was by the former Sustainable Development Commission in 2006. It concluded  “Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change … “. Surprise: one of the first things the Tory-led coalition Government did when it assumed power in 2010 was to abolish the Sustainable Development Commission”.

Ian Stewart the Heysham Manager is absolutely right when he says that “Low carbon energy is vital both locally and nationally”  why then is he promoting a life extension to Heysham 1?

Even if nuclear was the bees knees as far as low carbon energy is concerned, that would still not justify the trade off.  The trade off for continued nuclear fanaticism is the real possibility of accident and the absolute certainty of routine emissions.  Emissions which the industry and government know cause radiation linked disease in humans and a snowball of blight to the environment.

Given what is at stake you would think that safety would be paramount.  Not so.  Graphite bricks in the Heysham 1 reactor are cracking and starting to lose weight due to bombardment of radiation. The graphite is about to breach safety levels and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) would have had to prosecute or even shut down the plant. But instead, the regulators are considering a request from EDF energy, to simply airbrush away the safety limits.

Yesterday’s Utility Week reports:  “EDF Energy applied to extend the limit on how much degradation can take place to the graphite bricks surrounding the nuclear core at its Kent-based nuclear site, and told Utility Week that the rest of its site are under review as safety margins continue to shrink. “The figures we have for our sites are well within the safety margins we have been set. But we will keep this under review during the operational lives of our sites, and as is usual work with the Office for Nuclear Regulation,” a spokesman for the company said. The Heysham 1 nuclear power unit is the reactor closest to reaching its safety standards relating to graphite weight loss, at just 1.5 per cent off its limit. Current average weight loss is at 10.5 per cent with its limit being 12 per cent. A final decision as to whether the Heysham plant’s lifetime may be extended to 2019 will be made by the regulator next year following detailed safety assessment of the site which will be shared with the Office for Nuclear Regulation. If the life extension is not approved a safety limit change may be unnecessary as the plant would close in 2016. However, if the plant’s life extension is approved, an application to change the safety limits may be required”.

There is a petition regarding EDF’s Dungeness B – another petition for Heysham 1 will follow.

Or if you would like to set up petitions PLEASE DO!

This is MEGA BIG BAD DANGEROUS and the more groups and individuals who SHOUT the more chance we have of preventing nuclear catastrophe.

What can you do?

Please contact Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth UK ask them to grab hold of this nuclear hot potato while we still have the chance to make a difference.

Contact your Social Media Networks and shout about this

Contact your MP

Contact Anyone and Everyone you can think of who can stand up and strongly oppose.


PODIUM – The Westmorland gazette July 3rd Ian Stewart Station Director of Heysham 1

Heysham 1 Ian Stewart Podium WG july 3 2014

5 thoughts on “Heysham’s Graphite Core Clapped Out? No Probs..Just Change the Rules!

  1. Jo M Brown

    The same is happening across all the UK nuclear sites. The NDA and ONR do not make independent safety assessments; they just ask EDF if they think it will be OK to grant reactor life extensions and, what a surprise, EDF or any other nuclear oprator for that matter universally respond that they consider the reactors are safe even with all the new risks like graphite brick cracks and misalignment increasingly ignored. So far, Dungeness, Hinkley B and Sizewell have got lifetime extensions; which one’s going to be the first to go into yet another Fukushima example of ‘human error’??? EDF want lifetime extensions because this gives them the highest profit rates of the whole lifecycle. And as a foreign company why would they care if it all goes wrong? They’ll just scoop up their profits and retreat to France, leaving UK taxpayers to pick up the costs; that’s those of us who are still alive.

  2. Pingback: Nuclear Podium – A Masterpiece in Storytelling

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