Sizewell B Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) – Possibility Of Cracks

Readers of News 183 (January 2013) will know that following the discovery in June 2012 of serious cracks in two Belgian reactor pressure vessels of the same basic design as Sizewell B RPV, we have been demanding of our Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) that they take immediate steps to shut down Sizewell B and carry out physical checks of the B RPV in case it has cracks.

It is admitted by the ONR that failure of the RPV would be catastrophic. It would lead, following a core meltdown, to wholesale evacuation of thousands of citizens, many of whom would be in danger of their very lives…

We regret to say that, despite three separate written requests to the ONR backed up by detailed information gleaned from the Belgian nuclear regulator, the ONR has declined to take action, merely saying they will wait until Spring 2016 when the next Periodic Safety Review is due and physical inspections should take place.

We have, at the last two quarterly meetings December 2012 and March 2013 of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG), vigorously asked that they support us in what is an alarming situation, backed up by copies of our correspondence: but to no avail. All they have agreed to do is to ‘consider the option of the attendance of Dr.John Large (an independent nuclear engineer who advises us) to their next Sub-group Meeting on15th May 2013 when they will ‘discuss and progress(?) this issue’….

We are forced to the conclusion that both the ONR and the SSG are not fit for purpose. Shame on them!

Whatever happened to the precautionary principle?