Cracks have been found on approximately 400 graphite bricks in the reactor core.
The following is a letter from a member of Radiation Free Lakeland to EDF.
Please do write your own letter asking EDF not to start the Hunterston B nuclear reactors in Scotland.
You can contact EDF by various ways – write, phone, email but let them know that starting cracked reactors is knowingly putting the population in danger of a serious nuclear accident.
Here is the letter……
“I write to ask you that the Hunterston B reactors are not restarted. I have watched the date of their restarts being pushed back and back and it is now showing to be 24th June for Reactor 4 and the 31st July for Reactor 3.
Hunsterston B has been running since my 10th Birthday, 6th February 1976 which means the Reactors have been producing electricity for 43 years. It’s construction began in 1967. So 52 years ago. It is a first generation AGR design
It is located 60Km from the centre of Glasgow overlooking the beautiful Isle of Arran. Glasgow has a population of 621,000 people in Strathclyde which has a population of over 2.5 Million People
Over that 43 year run time the pressure vessel has contained 41 atmospheres of pressure with temperatures of 645C at the steam outlets. The Boilers inside the biological screen create 500kg of ferocious high pressure steam per second from a core containing 129 tonnes of Uranium Oxide all being cooled by a gas flow of 3680kg of CO2 every second.
What electrical or mechanical device do you have that is 43 years old that you would trust your life to? If you do have such a thing, what about one that has had to contain such an extreme environment for so long??
During that 43 years the graphite moderator core has been subjected to constant temperatures of over 600C and been bombarded by high energy neutrons as a result of the Nuclear Fision the reactors have contained for 43 years. Its density has been reduced by the bombardment and it is now just Swiss Cheese, at a molecular level. The gilsocarbon graphite making up the core has reduced in weight by at least 12.8% – this from your own report of almost 5 years ago –
The graphite forms the main structure of the reactor core drilled through with 308 holes for the Fuel Elements and most importantly drilled through where the 81 Boron control rods move.
Now as you know over the 43 years of neutron bombardment the Graphite Moderator has shrunk, lost mass and is cracked througout. It’s structural stability is compromised. So much so that the control rods, which should fall by gravity into the core in a scram situation, now have to have gimbal joints in the rods to snake their way through the misaligned holes
The lives of the people of Scotland depend on this being reliable. That the core when going critical is sufficiently moderated by the graphite and cooled reliably throughout by the CO2 circulating gas such that a fuel element melt cannot take place.
N.B. This situation at Hunterston B also exists at Dungeness B, Heysham 1, Hartlepool and Hinkley Point B
Now I am sure you will have watched the recent Chernobyl series on Sky and you are aware of how the control rods exacerbated that situation. I am sure you are well aware of the consequences of that disaster (as also the SL-1 Incident, The Windscale Fire, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the 3 meltdowns and explosions of Fukushima and all of the issues of Handford)
I want to be able to visit Scotland and the Hebrides for long into the future. I don’t want to have to drive around yet another exclusion zone. I don’t want any further lives lost to cancers caused as a result of Nuclear Reactors. I don’t want the consequences of Chernobyl visited upon the people of the Northern UK and Ireland.
I ask you not to restart Hunterston B. It was due for shutdown in 2011. Please shut it down now for good in 2019
David Autumns”


Also just posted on the Radiation Free Lakeland facebook page …

“Over a decade ago top nuclear engineer, the late John Large, was calling for Hunterston to be shut down. Cracks in the reactor core and a missing shut-down system made the reactor a hazard. That was in 2008 and they still want to reopen it again this month after finding hundreds more cracks! That’s irresponsible, criminally so!”



By Alan Simpson and Mark Howarth, Scottish Daily Mail, 9/5/08

SCOTLAND ‘S oldest nuclear power station is at the centre of fresh safety fears after it was revealed it may be impossible to shut down its reactors in an emergency.

Nuclear inspectors admit that a vital shut-down mechanism at Hunterston B in Ayrshire is not in place, which raises serious concerns about the plant.

The government inspectors have warned that unless work to rectify the shortcomings has started by autumn, the plant could be ordered to close, leaving Scotland facing a potential energy crisis.

The news is a major blow to West Lothian-based British Energy, which runs the plant, as today (FRI) sees the deadline for takeover bids for the troubled company.

It is estimated the cost of making the shut-down systems safe at Hunterston B and its sister plant, Hinkley Point B in Somerset, could be upwards of £100million and may affect potential bids.

The alarm centres on whether the stations could be completely shut down in the event of a major nuclear emergency.

Officials discovered that a vital mechanism that could quickly halt a potentially devastating chain reaction in the nuclear reactors is missing at both sites.

According to experts, this leaves both plants at risk of being unable to prevent full-scale meltdown in an emergency – with potentially devastating consequences.

Leading independent nuclear consultant John Large said last night: “To discover that a shut-down system is not just on the blink but actually missing is, frankly, astonishing.

“These two stations are the oldest in British Energy’s portfolio and, not to put too fine a point on it, they are knackered.

“If Hinkley Point and Hunterston were to go offline tomorrow, that would leave around half Britain ‘s nuclear capacity under repair.

“In the long term, that may leave the UK with an energy gap to fill.”

Scotland ‘s two nuclear power stations – Hunterston B and Torness in East Lothian – produce more than 30 per cent of the country’s electricity.

Hunterston B’s two units alone generate 450 megawatts, which is enough energy for about a million homes.

Hunterston B and Hinkley Point are Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor stations which opened in 1976 and were due to be decommissioned in 2011.

Last year, British Energy, in which the government has a 35 per cent stake, was granted permission to extend the working lives of Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B in Somerset by five years to 2016.

It was given the go-ahead to head off a potential energy shortage while the Westminster Government builds new nuclear stations.

But the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) could scupper the life extensions if concerns over whether the reactors could be shut down in the event of an emergency in the near future are not addressed.

In the event of a mishap in a nuclear reactor, the final failsafe system is to fire boron beads into the reactor, which achieves permanent shut-down by mopping up neutrons.

But neither site has the boron beads system and the NII has told the company to bring its entire shut-down system up to scratch.

A spokesman said: “NII has required British Energy to perform a study to establish the reasonable practicability of plant modifications and to implement them as appropriate so as to secure the long-term operation of the graphite cores of the reactors at Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B.

“We work on absolutes. If we’re not happy, these things don’t operate.”

British Energy has confirmed the boron bead systems were not in place but played down safety fears.

A spokesman said: “If we, or our regulators, were concerned with any aspect relating to the safe operation of the plant, we would not be permitted to operate.

“All of our reactors have several systems in place to provide defence in depth to ensure immediate shutdown and, if need be, long-term hold down of the reactor.”

“We are happy the work contemplated will be manageable within planned budgets for plant investment which were planned last year.”

Associated Newspapers Limited.



  1. gyrogearloose

    Reblogged this on When I woke up.. and commented:
    This is an example of what the nuclear industry will do when they’re not happy and being supported with lots of money! They will begin to kill you, all they care about is money and more money and more money and more money and more money when the money stops you start to die. Sorry I didn’t make it that way they did – but now you have to live with their neglect. their greed and their homicidal tendencies. Problem is there really ain’t s*** you can do about it except get out on your knees, lick their boots and beg – which will not change their mind one bit!

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