18 Dec 2008

Oldbury nuke dinosaur not closing as planned

I am astonished to learn that Oldbury nuclear power station will be permitted to operate past its planned December 30th closure date.

Photos: Slide from John Large talk and John Large below

The two 'Magnox' reactors at Oldbury have been struggling along for the past six years with one or other of them closed down for safety reasons. Some will remember last year Independent Nuclear Scientist John Large spoke in Stroud regarding this and raised many very real concerns - see here. You can download his full presentation from his website here - check down for Oldbury in October 2007 - see here.

largeOldbury is the oldest UK reactor - 'a dinosaur nuke' as I said to the press today, where age-related corrosion of the reactor core has meant that safety regulators have closed the reactors for long periods for inspections. One test by Manchester University showed the strength of the graphite bricks which constitute the reactor core would be just twelve percent of its original strength at 35 percent weight loss. We are also told that Reactor 1 reached the safety limit of 34.5 percent weight loss two years ago, while reactor 2 was expected to reach the threshold this year.

I am also concerned by reports that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, who run Oldbury for the Government, are known to be short of money to decommission Sellafield and old Magnox reactors - an estimated cost of £83.20billion. Has political influence played a role in trying to keep the 'nuclear flag flying' while plans to build new reactors at sites like Oldbury are developed? I hope not but certainly contact with other campaigners locally there is a real astonishment that this plant could be kept open when so much about the dangers are known...See what I sent to press here.

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