HUnterston - 250px-Hunterston_A_nuclear_power_stationCracks that are spreading in two ageing nuclear power reactors at Hunterston on the Firth of Clyde have delayed plans to reopen them until 2019.

EDF Energy has postponed the scheduled restart for reactor three from 18 December until 21 February, and the restart of reactor four from 30 November until 14 January. Reactor three has been closed down since 9 March 2018, and reactor four since 2 October.

The shutdowns are to enable the reactors’ graphite cores to be inspected for cracks which could jeopardise nuclear safety. The scheduled date for reopening reactor three, the oldest in EDF’s fleet, has been repeatedly postponed as more cracks have been found.

EDF confirmed the delays to the news agency, Reuters, the day after The Ferret revealed that more than 350 cracks had been detected in reactor three, breaching its operating safety limit. EDF is now asking the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to relax the limit to allow the reactor to start.

The Ferret is a Scottish investigative journalism bureau.

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