Readers over the last 18 months will be aware of our concerns about the integrity of the Sizewell B reactor pressure vessel in the light of weaknesses found in two similar plants in Belgium, namely Doel 3 and Tihange 2. A recent press release from the Belgian safety regulator (FANC) reveals that both reactors have (again) been stood down, this time because of irradiation of the vessel bodies. An accelerated physical irradiation test programme is underway with results in Autumn 2014.We understand that these tests have never been carried out before in the world and may have safety implications which would be far-reaching for other PWRs.
This had led us to ask the ONR: is Sizewell B’s RPV affected? We await its reply. We have also asked the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG), via its chair, to add its weight to our concerns.