Stop Hinkley Press Release

5th February 2008

Hinkley B to shut again

Campaigners have pointed to the fragility of sensitively placed boilers at Hinkley B following the news that the twin reactors will both have to shut down this year following a seven month outage last winter.

The boiler tubes were re-welded by teams of workers over several months but the plant is only allowed to operate at 60 to 70 percent output to try and reduce heat and pressure in the thirty year old pipes. The boilers are housed inside the reactor pressure vessel alongside the nuclear reactors, which have been the subject of concern by the nuclear safety regulator.

Although British Energy has not indicated how often the boilers should now be inspected, it is likely the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate would have ordered an annual detailed inspection. In a BBC Radio 4 report on faults at Hinkley Point a British Energy spokesman said it had been four years since a full inspection of an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) but would not say how long had elapsed since Hinkley's last inspection. On the programme nuclear consultant John Large blasted the company for being taken by surprise by the cracked boiler tubes. (1)

Jim Duffy, campaign spokesman said: "It's high time that Hinkley undertook inspections of its boilers. Cracked boilers plus cracked reactor core equals unthinkable risk. Better still to shut it now and stop gambling."

Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator, 07968 974805

Notes:

(1) Link to BBC Radio 4 'File on Four', 13th Dec 2006:

(2) Link to Reuters press release, Monday 4th Feb 2008: (Currently no news release on British Energy website)

 

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Page Updated 05-Feb-2008