Four nuclear reactors at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power stations, which provide around 2,350MW of electricity generation in the UK, have been returned to service following a 17-month outage.
The four reactors were taken out of service in October 2007 after a planned inspection revealed some corrosion on wires that form part of the boiler-closure units.
Following the programme, which encompassed more than three million man-hours of work, the four reactors have been returned to service. The first three units are operating at full load and the fourth reactor is being increased to full load in a planned power increase.
While the reactors were out of service, British Energy took the opportunity to bring forward maintenance work, including the replacement of a generator stator and main generator transformer at Hartlepool and the replacement of some 3km of cast-iron cooling-water pipework at both stations.
EDF Energy acquired British Energy in January 2009 and plans to build four new reactors with the first operational by the end of 2017, while investing in the existing fleet of eight nuclear power stations which provide the UK with about one-sixth of its electricity.