Closure urged after 350 cracks found in nuclear reactor | The Ferret’
More than 350 cracks have been discovered in an ageing nuclear power reactor at Hunterston in North Ayrshire, breaching an agreed safety limit and prompting calls for a permanent shutdown.
The 3,000 graphite blocks that make up the cores of advanced gas-cooled reactors such as those at Hunterston B and Torness are vital to nuclear safety. Their integrity enables the reactors to be cooled and safely shut down in an emergency.
But bombardment by intense radiation over decades stresses the blocks, producing cracks at the base of key slots known as “keyway root cracks”. If enough of the blocks fail, experts say, nuclear fuel could overheat, melt down and leak radioactivity in a major accident