The excellent series provoked questions and the answer given by our nuclear industry and regulators is that “Chernobyl Couldn’t Happen Here”. Well maybe not the exact set of circumstances. But the combination of inevitable human error and the complex, unforgiving nature of nuclear power means that the variables are infinite but the results of catastrophe are so frighteningly predictable.
It is only by the skin of our teeth that we are enjoying the Lakeland hills and fells and not nuclear refugees (or worse) ourselves. This is not scaremongering it is a scenario that becomes ever more likely with every train load of nuclear waste that arrives at Sellafield, with every step towards a coal mine and new nuclear reactors nearby.
The situation at Hunterston B in Scotland is an illustration of how we are flying by the seat of our pants in all things nuclear.
This is from the latest Office for Nuclear Regulation document (http://www.onr.org.uk/llc/2019/hunterston-b-1.pdf) ;
“During switching of 11kV electrical supplies for Reactor 3, the electrical supply to the gas circulators was lost resulting in loss of forced circulation to the reactor for short period whilst supplies were re-established. Investigations identified that a switch semaphore in the control room had indicated that an interconnector was closed when in fact the interconnector was open resulting in an interruption to electrical supplies when the supplies were switched. Reactor temperatures were monitored throughout the event and all technical specifications continued to be applied. There were no radiological consequences from this event as Reactor 3 has been shut down for a year and the cooling requirements were much reduced.”
David Autumns, a member of Radiation Free Lakeland has said:
“The ONR makes no mention of any disiplinary action against EDF for this matter and prefers to talk about the risk of building cladding falling on folk when it’s windy.
and yet they accidentally turned off the CO2 Cooling gas circulators, and were unaware because the warning light on the dashboard didn’t work properly … and yet to the ONR this seems to be no biggie.
The ONR said that : “There were no radiological consequences from this event as Reactor 3 has been shut down for a year and the cooling requirements were much reduced.”
… and if it hadn’t been?
The lack of cooling was the root cause of the Fukushima meltdowns
It needs shutting down for good”
The Quarterly Statement of Civil Incidents
1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019
During the reporting period from 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019 there were no civil incidents at nuclear licensed sites within Great Britain that met the Ministerial Reporting Criteria (MRC) as defined within the Nuclear Installations (Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 1965 and ONR guidance in relation to notifying and reporting incidents and events.
Nothing to see here?