June 20, 2019 / 2:37 PM / a month ago

EDF Energy extends outages at UK nuclear plant where cracks were found

FILE PHOTO: Safety helmets with the logo of the Electricite de France (EDF) are seen at the coal-fired power plant in Cordemais, near Nantes, France, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

LONDON (Reuters) - EDF Energy, owned by France’s EDF, has extended outages at the two reactors at its Hunterston plant in Scotland, while the nuclear regulator assesses whether it is safe for them restart after cracks were discovered last year.

The Hunterston B nuclear plant on the west coast of Scotland is more than 40 years old and when operating can provide enough electricity to power more than 1.7 million homes.

It has two reactors and both have been offline since last year after cracks were found on the graphite core during routine inspections at the facility.

Before the plant can restart EDF Energy must show it can operate safely, even if there is an extreme and unlikely earthquake event.

It has presented safety cases to Britain’s nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which will then decide whether the reactors can be restarted.

EDF said the so-called B7 reactor is now scheduled to return to service on Oct. 1 and not the previous date of July 31.

The B8 reactor is scheduled to return on July 22 against a previous date of June 24.

“These dates present our most likely view of return to service. It is not possible for us to confirm with certainty how long this process will take,” EDF Energy said.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and David Evans

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