Electric day out at power station
EK Probus members visit Hunterston B
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