Tuesday, October 29, 2013

St Jude's storm closed both reactors at Dungeness B

"So what?" asks Herbert Eppel in a comment on my recent Headline of the Day winner "Wind turbine brought down in high winds in Devon".

The point is that it's funny.

Or at least it's funny the first time you read it. Most of these headlines aren't funny at all once you have thought about them for a moment. Ask the man on the toilet or the girl in the chicken costume.

But, more importantly, Herbert has put me on to a much more serious story about the storm and energy supply in that comment.

Over to Energy Business Review:
UK energy supplier EDF Energy has announced automatic shut down of both Dungeness B reactors following power cut off caused by debris landing on the incoming power lines. 
With shut down of the Dungeness B21 and B22 units, the nuclear power station is relying on the site's own diesel generators for power, to continue operation of essential safety systems.


Herbert Eppel said...

Hi Jonathan, Thanks for picking up on this. I wonder what exactly caused the outage? A plastic bag, perhaps? Or maybe a flying pig of the nuclear power is cheap, safe and reliable variety?

Phil Beesley said...

As an engineering student in the 1980s, I went in a group to Calder Hall to conduct some field experiments. For an anti-nuclear power believer, it was a great opportunity to see things -- much more than might be observed on a curated visit.

During a presentation on nuclear operations and safety, a staff member told us about a 1950s incident when a local coal fired power station went out of action. The 'national grid' was insufficient to replace it and mains power, required to pump water and steam, suffered a reduction in frequency. Pumping efficiency was reduced, reactor temperatures increased and power station contribution to the grid was reduced. It was a nasty cycle. Thankfully, boffins with slide rules found a solution.

Herbert Eppel questions the description of cause of problems at Dungeness. My guess is that 'debris' means 'trees'. Sometimes it is appropriate to call a tree, a tree.