Local community should decide future of Hunterston nuclear plant, says Ross Greer

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 3 May 2018 in News

A reactor at Hunterston B nuclear power station was today taken offline after cracks were found in its core

A nuclear power plant - image credit: Fotolia

Local communities should be given a say in the future of Hunterston nuclear plant, according to Green MSP Ross Greer.

A reactor at Hunterston B nuclear power station was today taken offline after cracks were found in its core, with operator EDF saying it had anticipated the faults and would work with the regulator “to ensure that the longer term safety case reflects the findings of the recent inspections”.

Hunterston B had originally been scheduled to close in 2011, before operators decided to extend its lifetime to 2016. EDF then announced in 2012 that the plant could run until 2023.

But with cracks also having been discovered in the core back in 2014, Greer urged the Scottish Government to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment on the state of the plant.

He said: “This is obviously of major safety and economic concern to the local community. Last year I published a report urging the Scottish Government to review safety conditions at the site following earlier reports of cracks and the repeated granting of lifetime extensions to the plant. The local community currently has no say in decisions to extend a plant’s lifetime as an Environmental Impact Assessment with a public consultation is not required.

“The government must reconsider its position on the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment to accompany decisions on the granting of lifetime extensions to ageing nuclear power stations and commit to a renewed transition plan for North Ayrshire which will prevent the community being left behind, as so many others have been, by the closure of aging power stations.”

Speaking in FMQs, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she would meet with EDF today, adding that she “expects the strictest environmental and safety standards to be met at Scotland’s nuclear power stations”.

In a statement, EDF said: "The inspections confirmed the expected presence of new keyway root cracks in the reactor core and also identified these happening at a slightly higher rate than modelled.

"EDF Energy has today decided that, while Hunterston B reactor 3 could return to operation from the current outage, it will remain offline while the company works with the regulator to ensure that the longer term safety case reflects the findings of the recent inspections and includes the results obtained from other analysis and modelling.”

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