Power plant hopes for an extra decade

edf dungeness 002 SUS-140707-144945001
edf dungeness 002 SUS-140707-144945001

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has approved the limit of graphite weight loss at Dungeness B to 8 percent which could possibly extend the life of the power station.

EDF operated Dungeness B power station employs over 500 staff and 200 contracting partners.

Juliette Sanders, from EDF, said: “Juliette Sanders, from EDF, said: “EDF Energy remains focused on achieving a ten-year life extension for Dungeness B which we hope to confirm by the end of the year.”

The agreed graphite weight loss is a small increase from the previous limit of 6.2% and refers to the amount of weight the graphite core is allowed to lose.

The graphite core is inspected every three years as part of the statutory outage.

Juliette Sanders added: “To ensure that safety margins continue to be sufficient, we have developed a programme of modifications which will feed in to the plant lifetime extension proposals and enable safe operation to 2028.

“The two advanced gas-cooled reactors at Dungeness B are made up of thousands of graphite bricks. This graphite core acts as a moderator – something that slows down fast neutrons sustaining the nuclear reaction.

“We know how graphite behaves over time, and expect to see cracks and a loss of mass as part of the normal ageing process.”

Martin Pearson, station director at Dungeness B, said: “The increase in weight loss limits has been based on an extensive programme of modelling and sampling.

“The limits are set at conservative levels and still include wide safety margins.

“This gives us the knowledge and confidence that the reactors are well within safe limits of operation.”