Electricity company EDF has temporarily closed two of its nuclear power stations, Heysham 1 and Hartlepool. This is a precautionary measure after it found a defect back in June in one of the boilers at Heysham.
The problem was first discovered during a regular boiler inspection, which led to one of the station’s two nuclear reactors shutting down. All four of the reactors at the stations will be shut as they are all of similar design. The company said that all boilers associated with the one that has the defect will be inspected to make sure that they are safe.
A spokesperson for EDF said:
“Until the results of further inspections are known it is not possible to advise exact return to service dates for these four reactors, however an initial estimate is that these investigations will take around eight weeks. ”
The company also advised that other nuclear power stations are not affected by this issue because they are a different design. The company is owned by the French Government and owns several other power stations in the UK including: Hunterston and Torness in Scotland, Heysham 2 in Lancashire, Dungeness B in Kent, Hinkley Point B in Somerset and Sizewell B in Suffolk.
According to the National Grid, the shut downs will not have an affect on the UK’s supply of electricity, which has been helped by the low demand due to the time of year. The Office for Nuclear Regulation said that the problem at Heysham was an unexpected crack in the boiler.