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Hunterston B Power Station is a nuclear power station in North Ayrshire, Scotlandmarker. It is located about 9 km south of Largsmarker and about 4 km north-west of West Kilbridemarker. It is operated by British Energy.

History

Hunterston B started generating electricity on 6 February 1976. The reactors were supplied by Nuclear Power Group and the turbines by C.A. Parsons & Company.

Its net electrical output is 1,215 MW. Operating at its current (May 2008) reduced level of around 70% of full output, Hunterston B is capable of supplying the electricity needs of over 1 million homes.

On 3 December 1977 The Times reported that seawater had entered the reactor through a modification of the secondary cooling system. The secondary cooling system uses fresh water to cool various items including the bearings of the gas circulators, which circulate the carbon dioxide (CO2) coolant through the reactor to the boilers. A small leak of CO2 through a seal had developed, and a bypass pipe was installed to remove the water contaminated with CO2 to the seawater cooling ponds. When maintenance work was carried out on the reactor and the pressure in the gas cooling system was reduced, sea water was able to flow back up this bypass pipe and into the reactor. The residual heat of the reactor was such that the seawater evaporated rapidly, leaving deposits of salt in the reactor around the gas circuit. It was estimated at the time that the reactor could be out of operation for a year, that the repairs could cost £14 million, and that electricity tariffs would have to rise by between 1 and 2 per cent. Extensive modelling work was performed in the Nuclear Power Company's (NPC) Whetstone, Leicestershire, fluid flow laboratories to determine where the salt would have been deposited, and the salt was successfully removed by technicians using vacuum cleaners and the plant returned to operation.

It is currently scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016.

The graphite moderator core in each of the twin advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR) at Hunterston B has recently developed structural problems in the form of cracking of the bricks.

The nearby Hunterston Amarker twin Magnox reactor buildings are now being decommissioned.

References

  1. Nuclear Power Plants in the UK - Scotland and Wales
  2. The Times, Saturday, Dec 03, 1977; pg. 1; Issue 60177; col D
  3. Scotland's Hunterston B to work until 2016, UPI, 11 December 2007
  4. Large and Associates. Brief Review of the Documents Relating to the Graphite Moderator Cores at Hinkley Point B and Other Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors, R3154 5 July 2006


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