A CALL has been made to shut down Hunterston B with immediate effect.

West Kilbride councillor Todd Ferguson says that Hunterston should not be a 'guinea pig' for the UK nuclear industry testing long far power stations can last.

Cracks have been appearing in all of the EDF advanced cooling reactors fleet around the United Kingdom - and the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) are currently examining the safety case presented by EDF to switching the reactors back on but the matter has been delayed several times this year.

Councillor Ferguson said: "The cracks at Hunterston keep making news and EDF acknowledge that the cracks have been accelerating quicker than expected.

"There comes a time when the reactors should remain offline for good. The North Ayrshire Conservative Group believe the time to look at this is now.

"Hunterston B has been at the centre of the local community for decades.

"It is, sadly, one of the last large scale employers in North Ayrshire and it is disappointing that the anti-nuclear policies of the Scottish Government have failed to provide a viable alternative for the workforce, once Hunterston B enters de-commissioning."

He continued: ""I believe that the time is right for the Office of Nuclear Regulation not to grant permission to restart the reactors at Hunterston B.

"I'm concerned that Hunterston B is being used as some sort of guinea pig, with the purpose being to supply data on how far you can push EDF’s ageing AGR reactor fleet.

"The station has exceeded its life cycle and the time is right to start winding down operations safely.

"The safety of the workforce and local communities are paramount. Both Hunterston stations have a wonderful track record in safety. It would be sad to see that position compromised and Hunterston's excellent safety record would then be quickly forgotten about."

"ONR have a big decision to make in relation to the safety case which has been presented by EDF."

At the recent Hunterston Site Stakeholders Group meeting, EDF were asked when it became economically prohibitive to re-start the reactors and the response was that the data coming from the testing of the reactors was important information for the rest of the fleet of reactors around the UK.

Councillor Ferguson said: "Hunterston is by far the most heavily cracked. When does it get to the points where the risks outweigh everything else?

"I don't want it to get into a position of a race of what is going to fail first - the graphite or the boilers."

At the recent SSG meeting Hunterston B Station management confirmed that they were engaging with their workforce to establish what career paths they wish to follow, in preparation for closure, with some already having indicated a desire to transfer to Scotland’s other nuclear power station at Torness.

As revealed by the News last year, North Ayrshire Conservatives are calling on the Scottish Government to look into the possibility of small modular nuclear reactors at Hunterston.