Hinckley Point Nuclear Power Station
The history of Hinckley Point provided for as per the details below. it draws upon it's past and future with HPC now in full swing.
Hinckley Point A
Hinkley Point A was one of three Magnox power stations located close to the mouth of the River Severn and the Bristol Channel, the others being Oldbury, and Berkeley.
The construction of the power station, which was undertaken by a consortium backed by English Electric, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd and Taylor Woodrow Construction began in 1957. The reactors and the turbines were supplied by English Electric.
The design followed the principles established by the Calder Hall nuclear power station, in that it used a reactor core of natural uranium fuel in Magnox alloy cans within a graphite moderator, all contained in a welded steel pressure vessel. The core was cooled by CO2 pumped by six nominal 7,000 hp (5.2 MW) gas circulators, which transported the hot gas from the core to the six Steam Raising Units (boilers) via steel ducts. The gas circulators could be driven by induction motors supplied with mains electricity or, when steam was available, dedicated variable speed turbo alternator sets. The design pressure of the gas circuit was 185 psig, and the temperature of the gas leaving the reactor was 378 °C, although this was later reduced when the hot CO2 was found to be corroding the mild steel components of the gas circuit more quickly than had been anticipated. Like all Magnox reactors,
Hinkley Point A was designed for on-load refuelling so that exhausted fuel elements could be replaced with fresh without shutting down the reactor.
While primarily planned for peaceful electricity generation, Hinkley Point A was modified so that weapons-grade plutonium could be extracted for military purposes should the need arise.
Both reactors were shut down in April 1999 to carry out reinforcement work following a Nuclear Installations Inspectorate Periodic Safety Review. Reactor 2 was returned to service in September 1999, but shut down on 3 December 1999 because of newly identified uncertainties in the reactor pressure vessel material properties. Because of the cost of remedying these problems, it was announced on 23 May 2000 that Hinkley Point A would be shut down.
Hinckley Point B
The construction of Hinkley Point B, which was undertaken by a consortium known as The Nuclear Power Group (TNPG), started in 1967. The reactors vessels were supplied by Whessoe, reactor machinery was supplied by Strachan & Henshaw and the turbines by GEC.
In March 1971 it was announced that there would be a six-month delay in completion due to problems with the insulation of the concrete pressure vessel. In place of the stainless steel mesh and foil insulation that had been used on previous Magnox stations, a fibrous type of insulation supplied by Delaney Gallay, part of the Lindustries Group, had been used for the first time. During pre-operational trials, before the nuclear fuel was loaded, high levels of acoustic vibration in the gas circuit were found to be damaging the insulation tiles, and the retention plates which held the insulation in place had to be redesigned and modified within the reactor.
The station began generating electricity on 5 February 1976.
It was taken over by Nuclear Electric as part of the privatisation of the UK Electricity Supply Industry in 1990, though remaining in public ownership at that time. In 1996, the AGR and PWR assets of Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear were privatised as part of British Energy.
In 2006 the station's reactors were shut down in order to inspect the boilers for microscopic weld defects that had been found in power stations using similar boiler designs. While it was implied in the media that these were major holes gushing steam, had this been the case the loss of pressure would lead to an automatic shut down to prevent damage.
Due to its age, on 16 August 2006 the company warned that until a decision was made over whether to extend its usable life it would operate at a maximum of 70 per cent load. Both reactors were subsequently restarted generating 420 MW each, roughly 70% of full capacity. The number 4 reactor was cleared for restart by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on 11 May 2007. The power station's current accounting closure date is 2023.
Hinkley Point B is the only one of four nuclear power stations in the area which is operational, the others being decommissioned are the adjacent Hinkley Point A together with Oldbury and Berkeley on the banks of the River Severn.
Hinckley Point C
Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (HPC) is a project to construct a 3,200 MWe nuclear power station with two EPR reactors in Somerset, England.
The proposed site is one of eight announced by the British government in 2010, and in November 2012 a nuclear site licence was granted.
On 28 July 2016 the EDF board approved the project, and on 15 September 2016 the UK government approved the project with some safeguards for the investment. The plant, which has a projected lifetime of sixty years, has an estimated construction cost of between £19.6 billion and £20.3 billion.
The National Audit Office estimates the additional cost to consumers under the "strike price" will be £50 billion. Financing of the project is still to be finalised, but the construction costs will be paid for by the mainly state-owned EDF of France and state-owned CGN of China.