France’s largest supplier of commercial energy – EDF – have shut down four of it’s UK-based reactors after discovering a fault in a boiler unit.
A statement from the company says it found a potentially-dangerous defect in a boiler spine at the Heysham-1 plant in Lancashire back in June, and following on from that discovery have taken the “conservative decision” to temporarily switch off the second reactor at Heysham-1 and two at its Hartlepool site in the northeast of England which use similar components.
With fifteen reactors in the UK, EDF will lose around a quarter of it’s nuclear commercial energy capacity for some eight weeks whilst necessary investigations take place and replacements installed – which the French supplier say will amount to a a 4.5 per cent drop in energy output over the course of the year.
Subscribe to our newsletter
“EDF Energy has taken the conservative decision to shut down Heysham 1 Reactor 2 and Hartlepool Reactors 1 and 2 that are of a similar design over the next few days to carry out further inspections in order to satisfy itself and the regulator that the reactors can be safely returned to service,” the company said in a statement.
The British Office for Nuclear Regulation was satisfied with the communication and decisive nature of EDF’s actions, saying “There has been no release of radioactive material and no persons have been injured,”.
Meanwhile, the National Grid also noted that “Demand is low at this time of year, and a lot of wind power is being generated right now,” meaning we can expect no interruptions in electricity supply over the summer.
The fault was found during a routine inspection of the boiler unit at Heysham-1, which will operate at a reduced load for a monitored period of time to ensure repairs are safely brought in to the system.