Nuclear, Reactors

British Energy restarts reactor

30 May 2007 – British Energy has restarted one of the reactors at its Hinkley Point B power station in Somerset, eight months after it was closed down because of cracks in its boilers.

The Hinkley Point B-7 reactor went online yesterday, but the B-8 reactor on the same site, which was forced to close in October, remains offline. Cracks were also detected last year at British Energy’s Hunterston B plant in Scotland, the sister plant to Hinkley Point B. Hunterston B-8 is now back in use while Hunterston B-7 is still offline.

The unexpected and prolonged outages last year damaged British Energy’s share price and forced the company to scale down its electricity output projections.

Meanwhile, the UK government is to cut its stake in British Energy from 64 per cent to 39 per cent, in a move that will raise about £2.2bn ($4.1bn) at current share prices, said Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary.

Proceeds from the sale of the stake, acquired as part of the state’s bail-out of the nuclear power producer, will go to the Nuclear Liabilities Fund, to be used to fund decommissioning costs of British Energy’s eight existing nuclear power stations.