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Cracks in Scottish nuclear reactor core prompt safety checks via Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – A reactor at EDF Energy’s Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Scotland will remain offline for additional safety checks after cracks were found in its core, Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said.

Ageing reactors generate just over 20 percent of Britain’s power but almost half of this capacity, including Hunterston, is due to go offline by 2025, prompting the government to plan new plants.

ONR was informed in March about keyway root cracks found during planned inspections of graphite bricks in the core of Reactor 3 at Hunterston.

Graphite bricks ensure reactors can be cooled and thousands of them are used in reactor cores.

[…]

Hunterston B in North Ayrshire, Scotland, has been generating electricity since 1976. Last year, it produced enough electricity for 1.8 million homes.

CRACKS

In 2015, EDF Energy said routine inspections had revealed cracks in part of the graphite core at a Hunterston B nuclear reactor. It said three of 6,000 bricks had cracked, something that had been expected to begin happening at that point in the power station’s life.

[…]

EDF said it expects Hunterston B’s Reactor 3 to return to service “before the end of 2018”. EDF Energy’s outage website shows an expected return date of Oct. 4.

Its Reactor 3 and Reactor 4 are both Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors. The outage will reduce its 2018 output by 3 terawatt hours, the company said.

EDF Energy said the operation of its other UK reactors was not affected.

Read more at Cracks in Scottish nuclear reactor core prompt safety checks 

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