Friday, 29 January 2010

Stop Nuclear Expansion at Oldbury

The government is considering building a new generation of nuclear stations with Hinkley Point a favourite site, despite all the indications that renewables can fill the energy gap.

Nuclear power is not cheap and it is not safe.

The Stop Hinkley campaign campaigned vigorously on the dangers connected with running Hinkley 'A' and as a consequence BNFL reluctantly shut it down permanently in 2000.

Hinkley 'B' managers have admitted there are several cracks in the graphite moderator bricks which make up its reactor core. These could delay or make impossible the insertion of control rods that shut down the reactor in an emergency. Moreover the cracks could create that emergency through localised overheating. Hinkley 'B' is due to close in 2011 but British Energy has amazingly indicated they would like to extend the life of the cracked, polluting reactor for another ten years.

Upstream, the ageing reactor at Oldbury, just eight miles from Bristol, is posing a risk to the region and has been implicated in a leukaemia cluster discovered at nearby Chepstow. Technical problems abound at the plant and include crumbling reactor cores (worst in the Magnox fleet), cracking pressure vessels and subsidence. Stop Hinkley worked with regional BBC and ITV documentaries in September 2005 to highlight the risk from this crumbling old reactor.