Cracks Generate Sizewell Concern

This, Our Letter, Was Published By The East Anglian Daily Times On 20th March 2015

Your report ‘Cracks generate Sizewell concern’ (EADT 9th March) of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG) meeting 5th March by reporter David Green was, as usual, even handed.

However, it is necessary that I should, as Chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, because ofthe possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Sizewell B Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), elaborate further on what I said at that meeting, namely: .

“T he Director Generalof the Belgian nuclear regulator has said, a propos of two Belgian nuclear reactors. Doel 3 and Tihange 2 [currently shut down because of safety concerns): ‘There may be a global problem for the entire nuclear industry. The solution is to implement inspections of all 430 nuclear power plants — all of them!”

It is reported in your paper that, at the SSG meeting, both the Office of Nuclear Regulation’s inspector and EDF Sizewell B’s plant manager said: ‘What has happened to the Belgian reactors has no implication for Sizewell B.’ But that is not the case — see above.

For the last two years, we in our Campaign have been urging an up-to-date ultrasonic internal inspection of Sizewell B’s RPV — to no avail.

Now we learn from a Greenpeace International Briefing ‘Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessel Crisis’ of 15th February 2015, that the Belgian Doel 3 PWR has suffered no less than 8,000 micro cracks in its RPV, occasioned during its operational working life …due to embrittlement and corrosion of its steel RPV, (discovered by internal ultrasonic testing), which could be the case with Sizewell B.

Despite our pleas, EDF and the ONR have refused to carry out the necessary, vital, internal safety inspection of B’s RPV until late 2016, when the plant’s 10 year Periodic Safety Review (PSR) is now due to happen (incidentally a year late). In the meantime, Sizewell B is up and running.

So, we, the local general public, will be at risk of a possible catastrophic melt-down ….So much for the much trumpeted clarion call of EDF and the ONR: ‘Safety is our paramount concern’.

The only safe course: shut down Sizewell B NOW. —

Charles Barnett, Chairman, Tudor House, Dunwich.

Subsequently, we have learnt from the draft minutes of the SSG meeting of 5th March, that the ONR will publish its response (as far as Sizewell B is concerned) to the Director General’s above request that all 430 nuclear power plants worldwide should implement safety inspections oftheir RPVs….

We await the ONR’s response as a matter of some urgency.