Dungeness power station is safe says Rye councillor

Dunge B SUS-140617-134650001
Dunge B SUS-140617-134650001

RYE and Rother councillor Sam Souster says he believes that Dungeness B is safe and can play a vital role in generating power in the coming years.

Cllr Souster spoke out after Green MEP Keith Taylor raised concerns over safety at the nuclear power plant saying it needs to be commissioned as soon as possible and replaced with renewable energy sources.

Cllr Souster said: “Dungeness B is safer now than it has ever been.

“I have full confidence in the safety and management of Dungeness from the director down. It is managed well and safety is of paramount importance.

“The station was accused of shutting the reactor down last year without telling anyone. That is simply not true. Stakeholders and the national press were informed.

“If you take out a major power station and replace it with renewables how many wind turbines would you need? The whole of Romney Marsh would end up being a wind farm.

Dungeness B is carrying out ongoing sea-defence works. Part of these works include a 1.5 m high concrete flood wall which is now complete. It spans 1.3km around the site and cost approximately £2.3 million.

Other coastal flooding work includes sealing cable tunnels and shingle membrane fitting which are also complete.

The next phase of works is a rock armour wall behind the shingle bank, expected to be completed by Winter 2014. This will fully restore the external flooding design basis of the site, providing protection against the 1 in 10,000 year external flood scenarios.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has raised a safety limit at Dungeness to allow the life of the reactor to be extended.

It involves increasing the amount of weight graphite bricks at the core of the reactor at Dungeness B in Kent will be allowed to lose.

The bricks, each about a metre in height, degrade over time and are vital for safety.

Station director Martin Pearson said: “EDF Energy takes a cautious approach, works closely with the regulator and operates with very conservative safety margins. We have stringent safety requirements. We carry out regular inspections, including of the graphite bricks that are part of the cores of the reactors.

“We work continuously with experts and UK universities to understand how materials in our nuclear reactors change over time and how that will affect the stations’ operations. We regularly refine our own safety assessments as we uncover new information. We share our findings with the regulator and with the wider scientific community. We also share them with the local community around each of our stations.

“Nuclear power provides the UK with almost 20% of its electricity, and EDF Energy is making big investments to safely extend the lives of its 15 nuclear reactors.”