The following is a Guest Blog by Jim Duffy former co-ordinator of Stop Hinkley republished with permission from a social media post. This lifts the veil on Hinkley Point B in a way that the BBC are wilfully neglecting to do.
“No sadness on my part. It all started badly with bodged welds in the cooling circuit which luckily a welder owned up to some years later when the Chernobyl accident made him worry about the defects he and others made. A regulator told me that the whole cooling system had to be rebuilt while the welder was threatened with prosecution for his honesty and not allowed on site to show the faulty areas.
In 1995 a new low level waste incinerator was refused permission from the Environment Agency after Somerset Green Party campaigned against it with Dr Chris Busby ‘s help. It already had planning permission from the local council but Somerset County Council was worried it would pave the way for a regional incineration centre for radioactive waste. We argued it would harm people’s health.
Chris Busby researched local cancer rates from 2000 onwards which Stop Hinkley commissioned and publicised. He found a doubling of breast cancer mortality in downwind Burnham on Sea together with raised leukaemia and other cancers. BNFL announced the closure of Hinkley ‘A’ when Dr John Large also lambasted the plant for dangerous corrosion. Hinkley ‘B’ carried on running despite evidently contributing to the radioactive discharges.
In the 2000’s Dr John Large supported Stop Hinkley’s campaign to shut it down after worrying cracks and weight depletion were discovered in the graphite reactor core. The regulators forced it to operate at lower temperature and radiation levels to try to maintain safety thus generating less electricity.
At the same time we discovered that one of the three vital safety systems was never fitted to the twin reactors. The boron beads system is designed to slow down the nuclear reactions if the reactors overheat. For some unexplained reason the system was not fitted nor added later despite our protests at the increased risks from the cracks in the reactor cores.
In the mid 2000’s a 20 by 20 metre patch of radiation was found on nearby Kilve beach by a retired submarine engineer with his Geiger counter. His two dogs had died unexpectedly after digging and playing in the sand. The Environment Agency refused to visit the site for five weeks by which time they couldn’t detect the patch. It wasn’t clear if the leak came from Hinkley ‘A’ or ‘B’.
In the late 2000’s a proposal was put forward to build twelve wind turbines a mile to the west of Hinkley. There was much support for the plan and Crispin Aubrey who originally formed Stop Hinkley Expansion in the 80’s fought hard for the campaign. But Hinkley ‘B’ owners trashed the idea, saying bizarrely that a blade might break off a turbine and damage the reactor. West Somerset Council listened to their largest business rate contributor and sadly turned down the application.
So I can’t cheer at the closure of the plant as it has caused so much worry and concern over the years. Relief is more my feeling although the story isn’t over by a long chalk with all the spent fuel and radioactive waste to take care of for hundreds of thousands of years…”
by Jim Duffy