Elec­tric day out at power sta­tion

EK Probus mem­bers visit Hun­ter­ston B

East Kilbride News - - CLUB NEWS - Ken Lawton

East Kil­bride Probus Club mem­bers left the town in a fleet of cars head­ing for the North Ayr­shire coast.

You could say that the air was ‘elec­tric’ as they were head­ing for Hun­ter­ston B nu­clear power sta­tion, which is lo­cated south of Largs on the coast op­po­site the small is­land of Lit­tle Cum­brae in the Firth of Clyde.

It has gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity since 1976 and is cur­rently op­er­ated by EDF En­ergy. It gen­er­ates up to 1000 MW and is due to op­er­ate un­til 2023.

Hun­ter­ston B is very sim­i­lar in de­sign to the Hink­ley Point B power sta­tion. Hun­ter­ston A was a Mag­nox power sta­tion and is lo­cated ad­ja­cent to plant B and is be­ing de­com­mis­sioned.

The con­struc­tion of Hun­ter­ston B was un­der­taken by a con­sor­tium known as The Nu­clear Power Group (TNPG).The two ad­vanced gas-cooled re­ac­tors (AGR) were sup­plied by TNPG and the tur­bines by C A Par­sons and Co.

It was orig­i­nally planned to op­er­ate un­til 2011. In 2007, planned op­er­a­tion was ex­tended by five years to 2016 then in De­cem­ber 2012 EDF said it could op­er­ate un­til 2023.

Mem­bers ar­rived at the vis­i­tor cen­tre where se­cu­rity was very tight and an im­por­tant healt­hand-safety talk took place. The party, ac­com­pa­nied by guides and two ap­pren­tices, pro­ceeded to­wards the tur­bine hall where they went through metal de­tec­tors and their badges were checked as they had their per­sonal de­tails stored elec­tron­i­cally.

In the tur­bine hall they were con­fronted with a mas­sive gen­er­at­ing plant pro­duc­ing some 890MWs out­put to the na­tional grid which they then saw be­ing con­trolled by a panel sys­tem in the con­trol room.

Not only was se­cu­rity in place but also safety from the ura­nium’s ra­di­a­tion, which the op­er­a­tors take very se­ri­ously, as the in­dus­try as a whole has an ex­cel­lent record stretch­ing back 50 years.

The view of the re­ac­tor hall was mind-blowing and looked like some­thing out of Dr Who. Mem­bers also saw where the cool­ing of the sea wa­ter in­let was housed.

As the tour wound down, they headed back to­wards the vis­i­tor cen­tre, pass­ing two armed po­lice­men, where there was a va­ri­ety of in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays and ex­pla­na­tions about the site.

The men were looked af­ter very well and thor­oughly en­joyed the whole nu­clear ex­pe­ri­ence.

A vote of thanks was given by vice-pres­i­dent John Walker.

When we switch on a ket­tle or a light back home we just take it for granted that there will be elec­tric­ity; so it was nice to ap­pre­ci­ate the ‘sharp end’ of where it all comes from – or at least some of it.

Nu­clear worldEast Kil­bride Probus Club mem­bers take a tour of the power sta­tion

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