UGLY and DANGEROUS HARTLEPOOL 2 on the North East Coast
photo by David Autumns
A Letter to EDF and the Office for Nuclear Regulation. The Nuclear Industry and the Regulators who both putting us all in harms way of nuclear catastrophe. Scrap these dodgy old nuclear reactors now!
Dear EDF and ONR
We would like to endorse David Autumn’s letter to you regarding the proposed restart of Hartlepool 2. Radiation Free Lakeland have written to you recently asking why there was an “unplanned outage” at Heysham in August and why that reactor was that same evening started up again (causing “loud banging”) following the unplanned outage. “Unplanned outages” are a dangerous indicator that things are not under control, this is especially concerning with reactors are are running way passed their designed life and with massive concessions to safety by the regulators. Increasing the number of cracks allowed in the brittle graphite cores is not acceptable given the possible catastrophic consequences of a nuclear accident. We are still awaiting a reply.
These reactors operated by EDF at Hunterston Hartlepool Dungeness and Heysham are operating way beyond their designed life with graphite cores that are old cracked and brittle. We are all downwind.
We fully endorse the letter below asking that Hartlepool 2 IS NOT RESTARTED.
on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
Letter from David Autumns
“As previously with Hunterston B I ask that Reactor 2 at Hartlepool is not restarted on the 19th October 2019
Hartlepool was due to shut down in 2009. It’s a decade later, it is tired and old as you can see, and yet you are still continuing to run it.
Within County Durham, where the station is located, there are 862,600 people. The Tyne and Wear has a population of 1.12 Million people with Newcastle just 26 miles to the North. This power station is the only one in the UK with such a dense urban population surrounding it.
Construction of the power station began 50 years ago and it eventually came online in 1983. It has been running for 36 years. MTBF reduces with age.
Like Hunterston B the radiolytic damage of the core has reduced its mass with the ONR increasing the “safety limit” from 17% to 20% to allow it to continue to run with the possibility of 23% mass loss being mooted. It is clearly in the same boat as Hunterston B with cracked shrunken graphite bricks making up the cores with all the same risks of blocked control rod holes due to graphite debris, keyway root cracking, distortion of the core impeding the movement of the control rods and the potential for the cooling CO2 being impeded by the offset core bricks leading to the possibility of fuel clad melt.
However, with Hartlepool, the situation is known to be worse.
Back in 2014, this was uncovered – https://www.nuclearinst.com/News/detailed-boiler-inspections-extend-uk-reactor-shutdowns
The General Public may just think that “Hey is only the boilers” but what most people are unaware of is the fact that the boilers sit inside the reactor surrounding the core that is flashing to steam 500 litres of water every second at 2500psi at over 500C and has been doing this for 36 years. This has led to stress cracking of the boilers including the internal boiler support splines, an effect that has been seen at Hartlepool’s Sister Station, Heysham 1.
This known failure mode has the possibility of releasing high-pressure steam and water into the reactor core with a catastrophic outcome. With the loss of over 17% of the graphite moderator the reactor’s control rods have to be extracted further to keep the nuclear reaction going as the moderator speeds up the fission process by slowing down the neutrons emitted so they more effectively split the Uranium Atoms. There’s over 17% less moderator to slow down the Neutrons at Hartlepool
Were the boilers to fail, suddenly the core would be engulfed in high-pressure steam and water, which is an effective moderator, and your Hartlepool AGR turns into a PWR. The containment is built for 600psi not 2500psi. The reactivity of the core would increase and the power of the nuclear reaction would become what is euphemistically called “An Excursion”. This would happen so quickly you wouldn’t be able to insert control rods, fill the core with Nitrogen or release the boron balls.
The outcome doesn’t bear thinking about in the surrounding dense urban area …
Hartlepool was due to close down in 2009
Please, instead of restarting Reactor 2, close the Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station down today.