Four Reactors in UK Taken Offline to Check for Boiler Defects

EDF is taking four of the UK's 16 operating power reactors offline to inspect them for a potential defect identified during a refueling outage.

Unit 1 at the Heysham 1 plant was offline for a maintenance outage that began in June when inspections confirmed a defect in one of the reactor's eight boiler spines. EDF announced Monday that it would shut down the second unit at that plant, as well as two reactors of a similar design at the Hartlepool site. In a release, the company did not set a date for when the reactors would return to service but estimated the investigation will take about eight weeks. After it returns to service, unit 1 at Heysham 1 is expected to run at reduced power while EDF implements a repair strategy.

An ultrasonic inspection detected the boiler spine defect at the Heysham reactor in 2013. Subsequent inspections at the other Heysham 1 and Hartlepool units did not show further defects, and unit 1 at Heysham 1 reentered service this year on reduced load pending further investigation. EDF decided to shut the units down after further inspections this year confirmed the defect at unit 1. All four affected units are advanced gas-cooled reactors that entered service in the 1980s, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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