Torness nuclear power plant was the last of the United Kingdom's second generation nuclear power plants to be commissioned. Construction of this facility began in 1980 for the then South of Scotland Electricity Board (SSEB) and it was commissioned in 1988. Torness nuclear power station is located approximately 30 miles east of the city of Edinburgh at Torness Point near Dunbar in East Lothian, Scotland. It is a local landmark, highly visible from the main A1 road and East Coast Main Line railway.

Torness nuclear power plant shares its design with Heysham 2 nuclear power station. The station was designed by NNC, a company created from the gradual amalgamation of five consortia that were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to build the UK's commercial nuclear power stations. NNC is now AMEC Nuclear UK Ltd.

The graphite-moderated, gas-cooled design was proven at the WAGR – the Windscale experimental AGR facility and is a significant evolution of the Magnox reactor designs.

The entire UK commercial reactor programme shares a common heritage with, and was built on operating experience gained from the early PIPPA reactors at Calder Hall and Chapelcross and prior to that, the Windscale piles.

Shutdown of both units due to drumscreen blockage by seaweed – August 2006

Complete blockage by seaweed of the main cooling water intake drum-screens is an initiating event considered in the Station Safety Report (SSR). The event resulted in supplies of main cooling water being lost for a period. As a consequence, water supplies to the reactor seawater (RSW) system, which provides a safety role, were lost for a time on one reactor and restricted on the other. The station responded to the event by shutting down both reactors within 70 minutes of receiving the first indication of impaired main cooling water flow and provided adequate post trip cooling.

Unplanned power excursion – December 2005

An unplanned power increase on Reactor 2 at Torness during the night shift of 30 December 2005. Operators responded to the event by taking corrective action to restore normal core reactivity levels. Station and Company investigations identified that improvement to the training of operators covering reactivity fundamentals is appropriate.

Catastrophic failure of a gas circulator – May 2002

This was thought, from forensic evidence, to be linked to the development of an unexpected fatigue related crack in part of the impeller. In August, another gas circulator on the other Torness reactor showed signs of increasing vibration and was promptly shut down by the operators. Its subsequent disassembly revealed a fully developed fatigue related crack in a similar position to the first failure, but the prompt shutdown had prevented consequential damage.

Crash of an RAF Tornado Near the Site - November 1999

In November 1999 a RAF Panavia Tornado crashed into the North Sea less than 1 km from the power station following an engine failure. The UK Ministry of Defence commended the two crew members for demonstrating "exceptional levels of airmanship and awareness in the most adverse of conditions"; they ensured that the Tornado was clear of the power station before abandoning the aircraft.
Torness Nuclear Power Plant
Country Scotland
Locale Edinburgh, East Lothian
Construction began 1980
Commission date 1988

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 × 682 MWe

Power generation information
Installed capacity 1,364 MWe

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