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Protests mount in Scotland after authorities give go ahead to restart dangerous nuclear power generator

PROTESTS are growing in Scotland after Britain’s nuclear authorities gave the go-ahead to restart a nuclear power generator that was shut down for safety reasons two-and-a-half years ago.

Reactor three at Hunterston B nuclear power station on Scotland’s west coast was shut down in March 2018, after more than 350 cracks were found in the reactor core.

Operation of the plant’s reactor four was also suspended recently for the same reason.

The two reactors had been in use for 14 years longer than their intended 30-year lifespan, but the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has approved the restart of reactor three after a two-year inspection.

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Friends of the Earth and UN House Scotland, which campaigns for the implementation of United Nations policies, have called for the permanent closure of the reactors.

There was a “near-catastrophic event” at Hunterston B in 1998, when storm spray from the Firth of Clyde shorted out all power lines at the station, Scottish CND said.

“Safety is judged by the ONR, who claim that safety is their sole priority,” the campaign group explained.

“Calculations of safety are based on complex models and multiple estimates of risk. The history of accidents within the industry demonstrates that such calculations cannot anticipate all possible chains of events.

“In the case of Hunterston, the focus of immediate concern is that cracking reduces the stability of the core should there be an earth tremor and that debris from the cracks falling into the channels used by the fuel rods could impede the cooling of the reactor or stop the possibility of shutting it down safely.

“EDF have persuaded ONR that it will be safe during an earth tremor and therefore it should be allowed to run for another six months.

“EDF have massive financial interests in persuading ONR that Hunterston’s reactors are ‘safe,’ not only because of the revenue from Hunterston but because of the implications for all the UK’s power stations which they now own.

“Part of the UK government’s unwavering commitment to nuclear power stems from their commitment to nuclear weapons. The capacity to design and build nuclear weapons is supported by the training, knowledge and practical know-how of the wider nuclear industry.”

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