Safety implications for Sizewell B

In July, ONR inspections at two nuclear plants in Belgium – Doel 3 and Tihange 2 – revealed flaws in their reactor pressure vessels which may have some safety significance for Sizewell B.

ONR inspectors have been monitoring the situation in Belgium and any possible implications for the UK. The only operating reactor in the UK with a steel reactor pressure vessel, similar to those at Doel 3 and Tihange 2, is Sizewell B.

The Sizewell B reactor pressure vessel was constructed and is inspected to some of the highest standards in the world. Whilst no flaws of the kind seen at Doel 3 and Tihange 2 are expected to be present in the Sizewell B reactor pressure vessel, as a precautionary and confirmatory measure ONR asked Sizewell B to undertake a review of the site’s manufacturing and inspection records. This review is expected to be complete before the end of 2012.

There is no reason at this time to believe there are challenges for the current safety justification for Sizewell B. However, ONR will maintain an interest in developments in Belgium, and potentially elsewhere, and assess this information when considering whether any regulatory action is necessary.

This is one of the articles contained in the latest edition of ONR Newsletter.

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