Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 29°C

min temp: 17°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Sizewell: Watchdog satisfied with n-plant despite flaws found in Belgian reactors

09:51 15 November 2012

Sizewell Nuclear Power plant is part of the scenery in Sizewell Gap

Sizewell Nuclear Power plant is part of the scenery in Sizewell Gap

Archant

THE UK nuclear safety watchdog has rejected calls to bring forward an inspection of the pressure vessel “heart” of the Sizewell B nuclear power station following the discovery of cracks in the surface of similar vessels in Belgium.

The flaws, found in July this year in reactors at Doel and Tihange, had not been reported during manufacture or as a result of previous in-service inspections

However, according to the Belgian safety inspectorate there is evidence that the cracks did occur during manufacture in Holland and are not the result of operating stress.

The Sizewell pressure vessel came from a French manufacturer and underwent extensive testing before it was installed on the Suffolk site.

As a result of the discoveries in Belgium the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the UK safety watchdog, has ordered a check of all the documentation concerning the tests made on the Sizewell B vessel, during manufacture and service.

But anti-nuclear groups, including the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, have been calling for the next in-service inspection, scheduled for 2015, to be carried out immediately, as a precaution.

The last “in service” inspection was carried out in 2010, when no defects were discovered.

An ONR spokesman said last night the Sizewell B pressure vessel had been constructed and inspected to some of the highest standards in the world.

He added: “There is no reason at this time to believe there are challenges for the current safety justification for Sizewell B.

“However, ONR will maintain an interest in developments in Belgium, and potentially elsewhere, and assess this information when considering whether any regulatory action is necessary.”

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said the collapse of the Sizewell B pressure vessel would be catastrophic in terms of a radiation release.

He said that, as a precaution, the in-service inspection should be brought forward and carried out as soon as possible.

The latest report from the ONR did not address the group’s concerns, he said.

“Frankly, this new document in no way dispels our fears since it does not provide any firm evidence that the Sizewell B pressure vessel is free from cracking,” Mr Barnett added.

EDF Energy was invited to comment but did not respond.

0 comments

Traffic on the A14 is being diverted using the entrance and exit slip roads. Image: Keith Mindham

The A14 at Bury St Edmunds has reopened after a woman who was spotted on the wrong side of the bridge at junction 44 was talked down by officers.

A photo of the fire in the old Fisons building, Bramford, taken by Neil Rogers.

Trains between Stowmarket and Ipswich are running at reduced speed due to “thick black smoke” coming from a fire in the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford.

The RNLI at Aldeburgh investigate an empty boat that turned up on Wednesday 24th August.

A yacht named after a lucky star had the good fortune of being rescued off the Suffolk coast today having drifted unmanned past Britain’s biggest container port.

Abellio Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles.

The average speed of trains between London and Ipswich will be cut to just over an hour in three years’ time – but the Ipswich in 60 ambition will depend on Network Rail carrying out improvement work.

Ronald King, 87, of Cedar Close, Walton-on-the-Naze

A pensioner who shot his 81-year-old wife dead at a care home has been sentenced to six years in a psychiatric hospital.

Aldeburgh beach was packed with people enjoying the sun on Wednesday 24th August.
L-R Chris and Jane Linford,Jan and Ken Garratt.

With the school summer holidays drawing to an end East Anglia’s tourist hotspots are gearing up for bumper crowds looking to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Audrey Barlow was waken to West Suffolk Hospital after the fall

The standards at a care home near Sudbury have been criticised after the death of one of their residents.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24