Nuclear, Reactors

British Energy to restart in May Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B reactors

3 May 2007 – British Energy expects the Hunterston B nuclear reactors and the two Hinkley Point B nuclear reactors, which were shut in late 2006 as a result of boiler tube safety fears, to restart later this month.

British Energy revealed that in order to complete the periodic safety reviews (PSRs) the company has agreed to undertake a work program at both of the nuclear generation sites. The utility said that the programs would be carried out as part of its ongoing £4.5m ($9m) investment programme.

Commenting on its findings, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) said that British Energy’s PSR submissions contained several areas where shortfalls were identified in the quality and scope of information that is required by the UK regulatory system. Nevertheless, the body said that is has concluded that the issues were not immediate concerns for nuclear safety.

As a result, the NII said that operations at both sites should continue while British Energy carries out is work programs. In a press release, the UK utility said that, when the programs are completed to the NII’s satisfaction, it should not require another PSR to be submitted before January 2017.

British Energy also revealed that the company is continuing its work on assessing the accounting lives of Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B. British Energy expects to make a decision by March 2008, on both economic and technical grounds, as to whether the stations can be extended beyond their existing accounting lives of 2011.