UPDATE 1-Germany's RWE says Biblis B reactor is restarting

Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:54am EST

(Updates with background, details)

PARIS Nov 30 (Reuters) - German utility RWE (RWEG.DE) on Friday said the 1,300-megawatts Biblis B reactor was in the process of restarting after a year-long outage.

"We expect the Biblis B reactor to be online in the next days," an RWE spokesman said.

The outage started on Oct. 16, 2006.

The plant stayed shut as equipment holding cooling pipes at the 1,300 MW block and its neighbouring block A of 1,225 MW capacity which closed on Sept. 15, 2006, needed updating.

RWE said the swapping programme had been completed and safety authorities approved the reopening.

The components had been found not to be strong enough to cope with earthquakes or fractured pipes.

Traders in the wholesale power market had factored in the restart by year-end. The outage cost RWE hundreds of million of euros.

Block A is scheduled to return on Dec 13-15, according to the RWE website. (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; writing by Muriel Boselli)