Britain's Office of Nuclear Regulation said it had granted permission for three reactors at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 to return to service after more than three months of suspended operations.
The units were shut down August 11 in response to a crack in a boiler spine discovered at Heysham 1 Reactor 1 in 2013 during a statutory shut down. That unit was shut down, but returned to active service in early 2014 with a reduced load and with the damaged boiler isolated from operations.
The supportive boiler spine is the central tube in a series of tube coils inside each boiler. The four units involved each have eight boilers arranged in pairs that surround each reactor.
EDF Energy shut down the Heysham 1 Reactor 1 again in June, and then took the other units off line in early August as a precaution, because they were all using similar equipment and designs.
EDF Nuclear Generation Limited has informed the regulatory agency that a return to service is justified, ONR said. The regulator, in return, has conducted its own assessment and agreed that the three units can return to service.
EDF said there were no other cracks found in any of the other central boiler spines.
Heysham 1 Reactor 1 is now on its own time line. “EDF intends to present a separate safety justification for Heysham 1 Reactor 1 which will be subject to independent assessment and will require formal permission from ONR before the reactor can return to service,” the regulator said.
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