Dr Michael McGuire: Structural Integrity Assurance of Welded Steel Pressure Vessels: The Magnox Experience – A Retrospective View
Introduction by Prof Roger Crouch. It is the end of the road for the UK Magnox reactor fleet. Closure of the last of the Magnox Nuclear Power Stations with steel reactor pressure vessels (Sizewell A and Dungeness A) occurred in December 2006, and the remaining concrete vessel stations are not far behind. In some cases, a lifetime of 40 years of safe operation has been achieved, which, in itself, is a tribute to the expertise of the original designers and manufacturers, and to the subsequent operators of the plant.
It is, therefore, a good time to examine the philosophy and process by which claims for the structural integrity and operational safety of the steel RPVs were sustained, particularly in the years leading up to closure, and to identify any lessons learned that may be relevant to the next generation of nuclear reactors. Dr McGuire graduated in Metallurgy from Imperial College, University of London, in 1966, and then undertook research into the fatigue and fracture behaviour of metal matrix composite materials at the Applied Sciences Department of the University of Sussex. He was awarded a D.Phil. in 1971. Following a period of materials research for a major UK manufacturer (1969-73), he joined the UK Electricity Supply Industry (CEGB and successor companies), for which he worked for 31 years (1973-2004). He spent fifteen years on a wide range of structural integrity problems relating to conventional power plant in UK Power Stations (1973-1988), and a further sixteen years working on the safety and structural integrity aspects of the UK Magnox Nuclear Reactors (1988-2004), based mainly at the former Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories. Dr McGuire is currently pursuing a range of potential research topics in the energy materials field in association with the Engineering Department at the University of Hull, where he is an Academic Visitor.
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