The recent inspection at the plant of North Ayrshire discovers that the figure of cracks has increased sharply. For conducting the more detailed investigation the owners of EDF Energy closed site’s three reactors in March. The firm claimed that the reactor was safe, and it is expected to bring it back into the service.
The spokesperson urged: “ Nuclear safety is our overriding priority”.The government office of UK for Nuclear Regulation restricted that 350 cracks are the “operational limit”. An ONR representative said: “ A conservative assessment of the inspection results shows that the number of cracks in reactor three exceeded the operational limit of 350 cracks in the existing safety case. However, it should be noted that the safety case demonstrates a significant margin beyond this limit and a safe operation was ensured.”
The cracks placed in the channels of the graphite core of the reactor’s where the controlling rods to repress the nuclear reaction and shut down the plant.
In any kind of worst-case scenario, in the presence of the seismic event, cracks could affect the channel and restrain the control rods from slotting in potentially.
An EDF Energy Representative said: “The most recent results support the work we are doing on the long-term safety case and underline our confidence that the normal operations at the station are unaffected and that there would be safe shutdown in the event of a 1 in the 10,000-year earthquake. We are preparing to present a safety case for the return to service of reactor three to the regulator, the ONR, for their assessment. We have also carried out similar inspections on reactor four and the case for the return to service for that unit is currently with the ONR for review”.