United Kingdom Nuclear Facilities

Mostly all United Kingdom nuclear power plants are gas cooled, except for the Sizewell B pressurized water reactor facility. There are 16 nuclear power plants with British Energy and British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) each operating eight. Most of these plants are quite old and will be shut down by the 2020's. British Energy provides online tours of some of their facilities. BNFL provides a description and location for each of their sites in the UK and elsewhere.

An example of the BFNL facilities is Hinkley Point shown below.

Hinkley Point GCR and AGR Facility
Hinckley Point A Magnox Reactor Site

Entrance to the Hinckley Point A GCR site in the United Kingdom. The A Plant has 2 reactors - A1 and A2. Each supplies a generator with 235 MWe electrical output.

Photo courtesy Morgan Brown
Operating floor of the Hinkley Point B
Advanced Gas Reactor 2

The AGRs have an efficiency of some 39 or 40%, due to the high carbon dioxide (CO2)temperatures and superheating of the steam used to supply the turbine. A characteristic of the AGR is that they experience core loss because the graphite is slowly lost to the CO2 coolant. Carbon monoxide (CO), methane and other gases are added to the coolant to minimize this graphite loss

Photo courtesy Morgan Brown
gcr-h3a.jpg (20837 bytes) Hinckley Point B AGR Fueling machine

This device is used to place new fuel into the reactor and remove spent fuel assemblies.

Photo courtesy Morgan Brown
Hinckley Point B Control Room

The B facility has 2 reactors - B1 and B2 - of the Advanced Gas Reactor design. Each unit started up in 1976. Each reactor heats the CO2 which, in turn, supplies a steam generator. This steam generator provides steam to a turbine- generator with 585 MWe electrical output.

This photo shows the control room for one of the 2 reactors.

Photo courtesy Morgan Brown

The UK nuclear industry has recently closed several reactors and has been under increasing scrutiny following incidents involving falsification of quality control checks at the Sellafield facility. The 2 links lead to other BBC articles that give a good insight into difficulties that the British industry faces. The Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Department of Trade and Industry are among the agencies regulating the UK facilities.

Copyright 1996-2004.  Joseph Gonyeau. All rights reserved. Revised: March 31, 2002..