Hunterston B

Construction of this 1,200 MW station started in 1968 and it was commis­sioned in 1976. It is situated near West Kilbride in Ayrshire (Fig 17.1). It is currently scheduled to operate until 2016 (EDF Energy, 2010), although lifetime extension is being considered. Boiler restrictions currently limit it to producing around 890 MW. Normal operations generate LLW from mon­itoring and maintenance activities in the form of plastics, paper and scrap metals. This LLW is drummed and sent to the LLWR for disposal.

Three types of operational ILW are produced (CoRWM, 2010):

• wet wastes of organic resin, sludge and sand arising from filtration and treatment of liquid effluent to allow authorised discharge of LLLE to sea (lifetime volume -120 m3)

• desiccant and catalyst wastes arising from the removal of moisture from the reactor coolant gas (carbon dioxide) (lifetime volume -640 m3)

• activated components and fuel stringer debris arising from refuelling operations (lifetime volume -1040 m3).

This ILW is stored in vaults that were part of the original reactor design and construction, but there are few features incorporated to ease the even­tual necessary retrieval of the waste or decommissioning of the vaults.

Decommissioning strategy is to defuel the reactors and prepare for an extended period of care and maintenance immediately after the power station finally shuts down. This would take around eight years and would include retrieval and packaging of the stored ILW. Extensive additional shielded access and retrieval and immobilisation facilities will need to be constructed to enable these decommissioning operations to be undertaken. Also a new purpose-built on-site store with a design life of at least 100 years will be required to store the conditioned ILW until the final end-point for it is identified. As an alternative, there is the possibility of utilising spare capac­ity in Hunterston A’s ILW store (see Section 17.5.2) instead of constructing a new store, and discussions with stakeholders are being undertaken.

Depending on when the station ceases to operate, the station would enter a care and maintenance regime around the mid to late 2020s. The strategy is to continue a long care and maintenance regime of the secure and con­tained station to allow radioactive decay to levels where in the future the final decommissioning and demolition can be undertaken by more conven­tional methods with less requirement for radiological protection and remote handling methods. Consequently this period is envisaged to continue until the early 2100s. Final decommissioning and demolition in the first decades of the 2100s will create around another 6,000 m3 of packaged ILW, mainly in the form of immobilised graphite, for storage. A further 15,000 m3 of packaged LLW will require disposal.

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