Thursday, July 19, 2012

UK's Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station in Automatic Shutdown, Cause Unknown

From UBAlert (7/19/2012):

Sizewell B nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast has had its second automatic shutdown in four months. Owner EDF Energy said electricity production had ceased at 17:11 BST on Wednesday and it was investigating the cause of the stoppage. A spokesman said: "The reactor was safely shut down, with the plant responding as expected and at no time was anyone's safety at risk." The plant had an 11-day automatic stoppage in March. EDF said it was not predicting when the plant would begin generating again. The company said the March shutdown had been the first automatic one in three years and was for an electrical fault in the non-nuclear side of the plant. There was a controlled stoppage in May to fix a lubrication problem. EDF Energy said Sizewell B produced enough electricity for two million homes, or about 3% the UK's electricity needs.

Is this kind of "automatic shutdown" with cause unknown a common event occurring at nuclear power plants all over the world, but people and the media (like Reuters) have started to pay more attention because of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident?

(H/T anon reader)


Anonymous said...

The operator must know at least what sensor triggered the automatic shutdown, if not the ultimate cause.

Anonymous said...

Operators are not going to publicly announce a huge vulnerability to computer viruses like Stuxnet or Flame. NPP computer systems should not be attached to the Internet unless industrial strength firewalls are in place. We heard recently that Flame has been out awhile. Using computer viruses for blackmail or for general mayhem purposes cannot be permitted in nuclear operations. Yet, for defense purposes we have already done this, a serious mistake I think. God speed the firewalls or brace for the conclusions! On a non-hysterical side, these ongoing failures may be due to aging NPP's with failing electrical equipment and PLV's. The fact that these 'unk' failures are not found ahead of time and fixed, tells me that NPP vulnerabilities need to be identified, prioritized by risk, and the money spent, immediately, to secure them.

Anonymous said...

"Is this kind of "automatic shutdown" with cause unknown a common event occurring at nuclear power plants all over the world"

Yes. Look up availability data for NPPs.

Anonymous said...

I just hope these facilities are not reliant on some retirees aging laptop running Windows '95.

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