HINKLEY Point B has today been given permission by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to bring the plant back online.
Owners EDF have invested £3m over the past year upgrading the plant while detailed assessments have been completed on the graphite in the nuclear reactors.
Peter Evans, Station Director of Hinkley Point B, said: “Our core purpose at Hinkley Point B is helping Britain achieve net zero and we have been doing this since long
before the term net zero arrived.
“The approval to restart power generation, which has come after many months of physical works and technical assessments of our site, plant and nuclear reactors, is
really positive news.
“When I look back at the last 12 months it is incredible to think we have delivered a major inspection and maintenance programme and a thorough justification to restart
the nuclear reactors, all as we grappled with a pandemic which has fundamentally changed the way we work.
“But we’ve done the work, proved our case and I’m thrilled that we can get back online and once again do what we do best.”
EDF took Hinkley Point B offline last year for detailed assessments of the nuclear reactors’ graphite cores. Detailed analysis by specialist EDF teams revealed that the
graphite was in exactly the condition the company had forecast.
Last autumn the ONR’s Chief Inspector noted the number of cracks in one of the reactors’ graphite was ‘lower than expected’.
The company plans to run Hinkley’s two reactors for six months, pause for further inspections and, subject to ONR approval, generate power for a second six month
It’s expected the 12 months of operation will generate eight terrawatt hours of electricity, enough to power 2m homes for a year.
Last November EDF announced that Hinkley Point B would operate no later than July 2022 before moving into the de-fuelling phase. This is expected to take a few years to complete and enable continued employment for many people at the station.
Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “Hinkley Point B has been part of the fabric of our community for decades so I’m delighted to see the
station given permission to return to power.
“I would specifically like to thank the whole workforce at Hinkley who have clearly worked so hard during these extraordinary times to return this critical part of the UK’s infrastructure to operation.
“There’s much to celebrate at Hinkley Point B and I look forward to doing so in person as soon as I’m able.”