'Nuclear experts have warned that two Scottish reactors should not be reopened because of cracks that could force both Glasgow and Edinburgh to be evacuated.
Earlier this year, worrying footage of almost 400 cracks 2mm-wide at Hunterston B in North Ayrshire were revealed.
Owners EDF Energy and trade union GMB want the reactors put back into service, after they were closed in October 2018.
But Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, and Dr David Toke, of the University of Aberdeen, are warning against attempts to reopen the reactors.
Although the probability of a meltdown is still low, both Glasgow and Edinburgh would need to be entirely evacuated if one was to occur.
However, both Dr Fairlie and Dr Toke have warned against the move and, when discussing the cracks in the reactors, said: 'This is a serious matter because if an untoward incident were to occur – for example an earth tremor, gas excursion, steam surge, sudden outage, or sudden depressurisation, the barrels could become dislodged and/or misaligned.
'These events could in turn lead to large emissions of radioactive gases. Further, if hot spots were to occur and if nuclear fuel were to react with the graphite moderator they could lead to explosions inside the reactor core.
'In the very worst case the hot graphite core could become exposed to air and ignite leading to radioactive contamination of large areas of central Scotland, including the metropolitan areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh.'
The reactor was forced to shut the reactor after experts found the hairline fractures were growing faster than expected, in about one in every 10 bricks in a reactor core.
The limit for the latest period of operation was 350 cracks but an inspection found that allowance had been exceeded.
Now, EDF energy plans to ask the regulator for permission to restart with a new operational limit of up to 700 cracks.'
Read more: Experts warn Glasgow and Edinburgh could be contaminated with radiation if EDF decide to reopen two nuclear reactors with 400 cracks in the core walls
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7 August 2019
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