Wednesday, 19 March 2014

EDF and Nuclear Power Safety.

I'm not a huge fan of the big 6 energy companies. They maintain a barely concealed cartel on energy prices and abuse governments and customers alike.

Unsurprisingly, consumers and the press love to give them a hard time, but just for once I think EDF are getting a raw deal.

You may have read that EDF shut down the nuclear reactor at their Dungerness power station because of fears that high tides might result in Japanese Fukushima type flooding. 

EDF marked the closure of the reactor with a short statement to local media saying:
“Unit 22 at Dungeness station was taken offline on 20 May for maintenance work which includes completing improvements to flood defences for extreme events.” 

Five months later, the company said: 
“Unit 22 at Dungeness B power station resynchronised to the Grid at 0.522am on Tuesday 15 October.”

I'm not sure what the Media (and in particular The Daily Mail) wants? They seem to suggest that EDF closed the plant surreptitiously and tried to hush the whole thing up.
Should EDF have waited for an incident to occur before starting to build additional defenses?

I think EDF behaved responsibly having identified in an internal EDF report which found that the shingle bank sea defences was “not as robust as previously thought”, raising fears that they could be overwhelmed in extreme weather. 

It's been reported that the company lost  £100 million in electricity revenue whilst the reactor was closed down. I'd rather they acted pro-actively, rather than waiting for an even bigger shut down and a potential nuclear catastrophe.

Just for once I'm going to champion a privately owned energy company. Ignore conspiracy theories. Ignore misleading information. They saw a problem and spent 5 months dealing with it. I'd just like to remind you that in Japan they have now closed ALL their nuclear reactors and 160,000 people were evacuated from their homes, many will never return.

We've just suffered the worst winter for a generation, with high tides and flooding in many areas. Would we seriously want to endanger a sizable chunk of Kent whilst waiting for media and government approval for remedial work?

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

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