Saturday, 2 October 2010

Upcoming visit to Oldbury nuclear power station

Oldbury Power Station (Photo: David Bowd-Exworth)

 Next week I am fortunate enough to be participating in a tour of Oldbury nuclear power station. In the post 9/11 world, tours are not easily obtained so many thanks to the people at Magnox North who operate the site for this opportunity.

I will write in detail about the visit once it has taken place.

I have a number of things I want to ask during the tour however please get in touch via the comments section if anybody would like me to ask anything specific.

Being a graphite moderated gas cooled reactor it will be a real treat to see up close as, water moderated/cooled reactors are by far the more common type worldwide.

Oldbury is one of the first generation of UK power reactors and was commissioned in 1967. This power station is forty-three years old! To date its generated 122 TWh with an 81% load factor.

Let's think about this some more. This single facility for the last forty-three years has generated enough electricity to provide for the electrical needs of 2 million Britons; and it did it 81% of the time!

It has done this, quietly, safely and without emitting millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

If a forty-three year old power station can continue to generate safely in the year 2010, stop and consider what the third generation AP1000 and EPR (the two models that will probably be constructed here in the UK) will be capable of. I plan to write something of a summary comparison between the two reactor designs as they are both very interesting but very different in their design philosophies.

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