Nuclear power station runs without safety device

18th June 2007
In the News
A nuclear reactor at Oldbury power station in Gloucestershire was allowed to operate despite the fact it had not been fitted with a crucial internal safety system which would shut down the reactor in the case of a fire.
 

The Independent on Sunday received documents released under the Freedom of Information act which showed that the Nuclear Installation Inspectorate, Britain's nuclear watchdog, judged Oldbury to be unsafe for operation during the next 18 months, but operation was allowed to continue anyway.

Running the reactor without the necessary 'failed fuel trip system' increeased the chances of a potentially devastating nuclear fuel fire to 1 in 1000; a risk which nuclear expert Dr. John Large told the IoS was 'unacceptably high'.

The documents show that pressure was put on the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate by power station operator British Nuclear Group, which condemned the recommended delay as 'disproportionate'.

The power station is now closed indefinitely, after a non-nuclear fire broke out elsewhere in the facility.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist June 2007

Donate

The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here