UK’s aging nuclear reactors have ‘reached threshold limit’

DW – May 6, 2018

Nuclear plant operator EDF Energy is hoping to restart a reactor it had to close because of new cracks. Experts have warned against extending the lives of old reactors, saying operators are “gambling with public safety.”

The presence of new cracks in a reactor at the Hunterston B nuclear reactor on Scotland’s west coast raises important safety questions about several other aging reactors in the UK, an independent nuclear expert told DW on Sunday.

The plant’s Reactor 3 was taken offline in March after Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was informed about keyway root cracks in the core’s graphite bricks.

Last week, operator EDF Energy said it would extend the shutdown to November to allow for additional safety checks after it discovered more new cracks. But the operator insists it will ultimately be able to restart the reactor — something it can only do with the ONR’s permission.