Press Releases

Nuclear Industry Association comments on cracks at Hunterston B

08 March 2019

The Nuclear Industry Association has issued a statement on the back of pictures showing cracking in the graphite bricks which make up the nuclear reactor core at Hunterston B Power Station.

A spokesperson at the Nuclear Industry Association said:

“Graphite bricks are used in all of the reactor cores of the 14 Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors operating in the UK. They reduce the speed of neutrons and allow a nuclear reaction to be sustained. They also perform an important safety function by providing the structure through which carbon dioxide flows to remove heat from the nuclear fuel and channels through which control rods are able to be inserted to shut-down the reactor if needed.

“As part of the usual ageing of nuclear reactors, cracks are expected in the graphite bricks which make up the reactor core, and EDF Energy regularly inspects its fleet for signs of cracks. While these cracks are expected, the inspection of unit 3 at Hunterston B found additional cracks that were forming at a faster rate than expected. Hunterston B has been kept offline while EDF Energy and the regulator understand exactly why this has happened.

“The UK nuclear industry operates to the highest safety standards in the world, with an independent and internationally regarded regulator. EDF Energy works closely with the regulator to ensure reactors operate and can shut down safely at any time, including in the unlikely event of an earthquake.”