Report raises concerns about nuclear safety
The Scottish Greens are urging the Scottish Government to intervene in a review of safety at the Hunterston nuclear power plant in Ayrshire after a report revealed that operators EDF plan to allow for an increase in cracking in its reactor core.
The report, by energy consultant and Safe Energy Journal editor Pete Roche, says that despite it being probably illegal under international law, the Scottish public are being given no say in an imminent UK Government decision on whether Scotland’s oldest nuclear power station can keep running longer than planned.
Safety experts have warned that cracked graphite bricks within the reactor could lead to nuclear fuel overheating, potentially resulting in a radiological release.
The Scottish Government is not opposed to lifetime extensions for nuclear plants.
Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP for West of Scotland, said:
"News that EDF propose to allow for more cracking within Hunterston's reactor will concern residents across the West of Scotland and further afield. The lack of public consultation is just unacceptable. European law says all ageing nuclear power stations should have an environmental impact assessment comparing their continued operation against alternative sources of energy such as renewables, and that the public should be involved, but that's not happening.
"I've no doubt that if we did this properly, the public would reject an ageing, cracking, safety hazard. The Scottish Government's relaxed position on nuclear needs challenged. We simply don't need to sweat these plants and add to our toxic legacy; we should instead put our effort into building our renewables capacity, reducing demand through energy efficiency measures and ensuring a jobs transition for nuclear workers.
"The UK regulator is due to report soon on EDF's plans. Scottish Ministers must speak up in the interests of public safety and in the interests of supporting a clean energy economy."
Read the report: Plant Life-Time Extensions for Scotland’s Ageing Reactors.