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Unreported nuclear near miss - UK

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My my, was just digging around when i came across this : (further proof if it were needed that we are the least of any ones concerns and are always the last to know unless we make it business to be otherwise informed !)

Revealed: the unreported nuclear accident
Updated on 11 June 2009

A disaster narrowly avoided, a danger only spotted by chance - yet the company involved faces no prosecution. Channel 4 News tells the untold story of Sizewell A, one Britain's older nuclear power plants.

These are details that, but for a Freedom of Information request, would have remained secret.

Two years ago, a burst pipe inside the Sizewell A station led to a huge leak from the pond used to cool thousands of nuclear fuel rods.

Sizewell lies in Suffolk, on the East coast of England. If the nuclear fuel rods had caught fire, the resulting radioactive plume could have landed on villages from Southwold and Dunwich in the North, to Thorpeness and Aldburgh in the South, and inland to Leiston and Saxmundum.

Sizewell Q&A: the expert's view

Channel 4 News speaks to nuclear engineer, John Large, who explains the significance of the Sizewell A accident.

Mike Weightman Chief Inspector of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate speaks to Jon Snow.

video at:

Channel 4 News speaks to nuclear engineer, John Large, who explains the significance of the Sizewell A accident.

Q: How serious was this incident?

A: The real fear comes with what could have happened if the leak hadn’t been spotted – just 12 hours later the coolant water would have completely run out.
That would have led to 60 tonnes of nuclear fuel catching fire. So it is the potential for what could have happened that is the major concern here.

With a subsequent fire there would have been a nuclear plume that could have stretched from the Suffolk coast right up to north Norfolk. Certainly, it would have been on the same scale as Windscale.

Q: What problems did the discharge into the sea cause?

A: The accident discharged about 1 per cent of their annual discharge in just 45 minutes; in reality 5 per cent of their annual discharge.

The problem is that if it is discharged by unauthorised means it picks up muck and other materials that will float on top of the sea as contaminated waste – this can wash up on beaches and affect fishermen in the area.

Q: Who is in charge of monitoring this sort of thing?

A: The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and the Environment Agency (EA) are duty bound to investigate and take whatever action is required.

This can range from a minor directive, to prosecution under criminal law.

Basically, the EA is responsible for the material that goes into the marine environment, the NII for the rest. In this instance, the NII wrote up a damning report but did not move to prosecute “because its resources were stretched”.

Q: The site has been closed down, what happens now?

A: The site has been shut down but the nuclear fuel is still there – it means there is radioactive fuel on the site now. The reactors were actually closed before the accident.

The same situation remains, if the fuel is allowed to heat up – the coolant escapes – then it can catch fire. It is so volatile; it can catch fire at room temperature.

mr anderson:

Al-Qaeda linked extremists had infiltrated the plant as employees going on 8 years  ::) /sarcasm.

That idiot miliband now wants to re launcvh this site to house one of the 11 new generation nuclear power plants and is currently just finished taking the publics views on this !

Sure re open a dodgy leaky nuke plant - cos that makes sense !

Source ITN

A list of 11 potential nuclear power station sites has been published, sparking anger from environmentalists.

Nine of the locations have previously been home to reactors - including Dungeness in Kent and Sizewell in Suffolk - while two others are close to the former Sellafield reactor site in Cumbria.

The sites - nominated by companies interested in building the stations, including energy giants EDF, E.ON and RWE, and by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority - could be operational by 2025.

The potential locations are: Dungeness in Kent; Sizewell in Suffolk; Hartlepool in Cleveland; Heysham in Lancashire; Sellafield in Cumbria; Braystones in Cumbria; Kirksanton in Cumbria; Wylfa Peninsula in Anglesey; Oldbury in Gloucestershire; Hinkley Point in Somerset and Bradwell in Essex.

Members of the public will be asked for their views during a month-long consultation, with the expectation of a shortlist being drawn up.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "This is another important step towards a new generation of nuclear power stations. I want to listen to what people have to say about these nominations and I encourage people to log on to our website, read the information and let us have their comments."

"Nuclear power is part of the low carbon future for Britain. It also has the potential to offer thousands of jobs to the UK and multi-million pound opportunities to British businesses."

But Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Robin Webster said "breathing new life into the failed nuclear experiment" was not the answer to the UK's energy problems, adding: "Nuclear power leaves a deadly legacy of radioactive waste that remains highly dangerous for tens of thousands of years and costs tens of billions of pounds to manage."

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said: "The Government is going down the wrong path in proposing that we should have more nuclear power stations. They are not safe. With the heightened risk of terrorism, it's foolhardy to build more."

© Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved

How the f**k could this only be spotted "by chance"?  There's no automatic monitoring of the coolant level?  They wouldn't know the coolant was leaking until it completely ran out?

What kind of moronic system do they have installed there?


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