Hinkley Point B goes offline for 'major' maintenance program

23 January 2015

One of the nuclear reactors at the UK's Hinkley Point B power plant will be taken out of service later today for a maintenance program worth £40 million ($60 million).

One thousand extra workers will join the workforce during the ten-week period, providing a boost to the local economy, EDF Energy said. They will carry out 12,000 separate pieces of work, planned over the last two years.

The extensive program of work will also see inspections inside the reactor, as well as installation of new equipment at the plant. The biggest projects include replacing two of the gas circulators that cool the reactor, as well as replacing blades on the steam turbine.

Such regular maintenance periods take place every three years and are planned in advance with the National Grid to ensure that there is no impact on the national electricity supply. EdF Energy spends about £600 million ($900 million) per year on upgrades to eight plants - or 15 reactors - to enable ongoing operation.

Hinkley Point B's two reactors started operating in February 1976 and the plant is due to continue operating until 2023, which is around the time when a new reactor, Hinkley Point C is planned to come into operation. 

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News