"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Jun 11, 2007

Hunterston nuclear reactor shutdown

Only a month after Hunterston Nuclear reactor was allowed to restart after repairs to cracked pipes the Ayrshire nuclear reactor has had to be shut down again after potential problems with its temperature controls were discovered by engineers.

An investigation is now reported to be under way at the Hunterston nuclear power station in Ayrshire to try to discover what caused the fault that led to Sunday's shutdown.

Like many of the UK's nuclear reactors Hunterston is ageing and reaching the end of its planned life. As a consequence it seems like that intermittent problems will continue to dog this plant in the future until it is either taken out of commission or massively overhauled.

For Ayrshire residents (and those further afield) the main concern must be with safety. Just how potentially critical are the types of faults which are beginning to be found with this nuclear plant? What does this tell us about the overall risks associated with this ageing plant?

Of course the operators and other bodies are likely to be quick to reassure us that all is well and that these types of faults would have no chance of causing major incidents. The problem is that given the nuclear industries fast and loose approach to telling the truth in the past this will not be a great re-assurance to the Ayrshire public.


Looney said...

Some of the work I did when I was younger was on nuclear power plant safety. I became disillusioned with nuclear power, but perhaps not for the usual reasons.

One big problem was that the projects were so big it guaranteed grabbing the attention of politicians. This meant contracts distributed on the basis of favoritism. In the US, a runaway legal system results in all the engineers working in CYA mode all the time. If the regulatory code conflicts with safety, then we stick to the regulations so we are in a stronger legal position if something breaks.

Bunc said...

Isn't cover your ass mode the only way to work when designing a sub-critical nuclear explosion which is in effect what a nuclear power plant runs on?

I would have thought the last thing we need in a nuclear power plant is some engineer who keeps saying "hey guys why dont we just try this and see if it works?". From memory I recall this is more or less what happened at Chernobyl.

The big issue here I think with nuclear pwoer is whether it will divert money, political and scientific energy from a massive push towards renewables.

Personally I have nothing against nuclear power (in the form of plants not manned by lets suck it and see engineers).

The SNP , who I generally dont agree with, are against nuclear power per se. They also argue that Scotalnd has vast potential for renewables (which is true) and we should bend our energies to their development. There are draft schemes for example for major tidal projects but these will need heavy initial capital investment.

Personally I think its sometimes too much of an either or argument and that some replacement of nuclear capacity is sensible to ensure a mixed and therefore robust power supply.

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