Sizewell B nears restart

22 September 2010

The UK’s only pressurized water reactor, Sizewell B, is gearing up to restart after being offline for over 6 months due to problems with the pressuriser. Lake Acquisitions Limited (owner of the reactor operator British Energy) says repair of the pressuriser has been completed and it expects the reactor to restart during the third quarter of 2010.

Sizewell B was shutdown on the 17 March 2010 following indications of higher than normal moisture levels within the containment building. It was subsequently found that a number of heaters on the pressuriser had failed and would need to be removed before the station could return to power. In June, Lake Acquisitions said that it was developing two repair techniques and the timing for returning Sizewell B to power would be dependent on the technique deployed. However, return to service was expected during the third quarter of 2010.

The repairs on the pressuriser have now been completed, fuel has been loaded in to the reactor and the station is undergoing its normal preparations for return to service following an outage, Lake Acquisitions said 22 September.

The total loss from this event is expected to be some 6TWh, according to Lake Acquisitions.

Heysham standpipe liner inner tube needs repair

Lake Acquisitions has also announced plans to repair the standpipe liner inner tube at Heysham 2, reactor 8, which was found to be distorted. The company expects the work to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2010, which will result in a total loss of 2-3TWh of electricity generation. The standpipe liner inner tube will ultimately be replaced at a future outage, after detailed planning and preparatory work is carried out.

In June, Lake Acquisitions said that similar inspections would be carried out at Torness and Heysham 2, reactor 7. Torness reactor 1 has already been inspected for similar damage and does not exhibit the same problems. However, plans remain in place to inspect Torness reactor 2 and Heysham 2 reactor 7 at a future outage.

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