Shut Oldbury Press Release
30 May 2007
Fire at Oldbury triggers new demands for closure
Campaigners have again demanded the permanent closure of Oldbury nuclear power station following a generator fire in a reactor which had just restarted after a two year shut-down.
A fire developed at 9.15 am today in one of the generators linked to reactor 2. The insulation around the generator was doused by automatic systems and the reactor, which only yesterday fed into the national grid, was manually shut down. Hydrogen gas is speculated to have been involved in the fire as the generators are enveloped in the volatile gas for engineering reasons.
Shut Oldbury campaigners believe the fire was connected to the two year lay-up of the reactor and its consequence may have further damaged the defective reactor core. Shut Oldbury is concerned that machinery that should have been spinning during the moth-balled period may have been left idle leading to distortions.
Reactor two had been shut since May 2005 due to safety concerns by the nuclear regulator as the bricks in the reactor core had corroded by as much as one third. It started warming up on Monday 14th May when the station manager praised the work and maintenance of his staff in restarting the 39 year old reactor.
Jim Duffy spokesman for the Shut Oldbury campaign said; "It was inevitable there would be some glitches restarting an ancient reactor described as defective by the safety regulator. Very luckily there was no steam loss as the reactor would have tripped automatically, a dangerous event for such a brittle reactor. A steam release inside the reactor could have been catastrophic."
"Even the manual shut-down would have incurred great tensions within the reactor core as it cooled down suddenly. There is now every chance some bricks have cracked so this reactor should definitely not restart - the risks are now much too high."
He added: "The regulators as well as the operators are at fault here. No reactor should catch fire on restart. The safety case was obviously deeply flawed. What else have they missed?
Jim Duffy, Shut Oldbury Campaign, Stop Hinkley - 07968 974805
British Nuclear Group restarted a reactor that had been halted for almost two years because of safety concerns. Anti-nuclear campaigners said the plant remains dangerous.
Telegraph 30th May 2007