"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Sunday, December 30, 2007

British Energy tells us about their plans for an extension - not like the one's we get in e-mails it seems

Holiday Time is a good time for companies to slip out either bad, unwelcome or controversial news.

On the 11th of December nuclear power operator British Energy PLC announced the extension of the working life of its Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Somerset by 5 years.

The company announced it has completed the necessary technical and economic evaluation that will see the plant, one of the area’s largest employers, continue operating until at least 2016.

Hinkley Point B has produced some 215 Terrawatt hours (TWh) of generation since first supplying the National Grid in 1976.say Avg 7 Tw a year, so that's an extra (say 35 Tw hrs - but is it ?)

Hinkley Point B and Hunterston nuclear power stations were closed last year due to cracks in boiler tubes , this resulted (between them) in 6.7 Terra watt hrs loss. Currently operating in a range around 60% load and they are working to achieve ~70% load in a phased process over the next financial year(Interim report 07/8 see chart below of total output)

The Boiler closure unit issue at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 reported in October will have a significant impact on full year output (probably of the order of 9 Tw hrs) - there is no indication when they will re-start.

Hinkley has continuing graphite crack problems. Industry insiders who say that large-scale engineeering projects will be required to attempt to make the reactor core safe. These include bracing the core in one of two different methods using extra steelwork. This may affect the reactivity of the reactor. Another problem of judging the spread of sub-surface cracks in the graphite bricks composing the reactor core is known as 'Eddie-Currents'. This technique would require adding iron filings to the graphite and putting a high voltage charge through the reactor core. As the graphite is probably very pure the iron may unduly contaminate it.

Keen eyed observers of charts will note that in the first six months, production was down - this will be amplifed in the second half - the extension of Hinckley Point's operating life (with it's recent history and time taken to reach full power) whilst welcome both to BE shareholders and the nation looks worryingly like a hasty Band Aid on an uncertain energy policy, buying a bit more time to sit round twiddling thumbs in Whitehall.

Jim Duffy is the Stop Hinkley Coordinator - 07968 974805 who are campaigning against a new plant at Hinckley Point.

IRONY CORNER : Hinckley Point is a windy shop .. ideal for a wind farm. PLans for an onshore project were turned down because of dangers of flying broken blades hitting neaby nuclear reactor.viz :

The submitted application, Environmental Statement, Addendum & Corrigendum fail to provide adequate information for the Local Planning Authority to determine whether the operation and physical proximity of individual turbines to the licensed operational boundary of the adjoining nuclear installation would compromise existing levels of safety within the nuclear installation. Accordingly, the proposal would be contrary to Policy STR1 of the S&ENPJSPR and the requirements of the Health & Safety Executive & Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. (West Somerset Council website)

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