Safety fault in China’s European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) does not bode well for UK’s Hinkley Point C and Sizewell nuclear projects | Antinuclear.net

1 month ago 143

">

The second EPR reactor at China’s Taishan nuclear power plant is about to enter into commercial operation.

Key safety components in the UK’s first new nuclear power station for 30 years may need to be redesigned and the project could be delayed after defects were detected at a similar reactor in China.

The £22 billion Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset is already well over budget and a decade late but the defects mean that the scheduled date for starting electricity generation, of June 2026, may have to be revised. The same power plant design is due to be used for another nuclear power station, Sizewell C in
Suffolk, which is planned but has not yet been approved.

An investigation is still under way into the cause of the problems with the plant in Taishan, in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. It was shut down in August after reports of damage to fuel rods, which hold nuclear materials used to fuel the reactor.

The plant is operated by China General Nuclear Power Group and owned in partnership with the French state-controlled EDF, the two companies involved in building Hinkley Point C.

The Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity, a French association
created in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, said that a whistleblower had reported that a design flaw in the reactor pressure vessel could be the cause of the problem at Taishan. An industry source
told The Times that the investigation was likely to show that the pressure vessel was “demonstrably safe” but it might also show that design changes were needed.

Paul Dorfman, a nuclear expert at the University of Sussex, said: “If the news we are hearing from the Taishan EPR [European pressurised reactor] is right, then it’s beginning to look like there’s a potential generic fault with the key safety mechanism of the EPR reactor design itself. “If so, this is serious news for ongoing construction at Hinkley Point C and plans for Sizewell C.

 Times 1st Dec 2021

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ef84adce-5215-11ec-8d72-b8ab431649b1

Read Entire Article