Both reactors at Heysham 1 shutdown for maintenance whilst third reactor back to producing electricity after substation issue

It's been a busy summer for the teams at Heysham power stations, with a maintenance shutdown and also a challenge with the local sub-station which saw the three operating reactors having to shutdown.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 3:45 pm

Heysham 2 power station has been working through reactor 7’s statutory shutdown which happens every three years.

As part of this programme Heysham 2’s team has completed lots of maintenance work including the station’s largest ever graphite inspections.

These look at the condition of the graphite and the extent to which the bricks have been impacted over time, including the presence of any cracks.

Teams at Heysham Power Stations are carrying out work in a number of areas after an unplanned shutdown. Picture by Matt Lincoln.

A single keyway root crack was identified during the review which is in line with expectations and all part of the natural ageing process of graphite.

Mark Lees, station director at Heysham 2, said: “The results are as we expected for a reactor that has produced such consistent low carbon electricity since 1988.

“This is just part of the natural ageing process and something we knew would happen at some point soon.

“We have seen this at two of our other stations already, in Scotland and Somerset where they have been operating since the mid-1970s, and so we know what will happen here in the years to come.

“Subject to the ONR’s approval we’ll return to producing that power for around one million homes from this reactor alone.”

Heysham 2’s other reactor is now back after the sub-station issue, and work is continuing at Heysham 1 to bring back its two reactors.

Heysham 1 has been carrying out inspections and maintenance while there is this short halt in electricity production, but the site expects the reactors to be back up and running soon.

Martin Cheetham, station director at Heysham 1, said: “A trip of both reactors at Heysham 1 is very rare and our excellent professional teams ensured that the site was safely shut down.

“During this unplanned shutdown, work is being carried out in a number of areas to ensure that all the necessary equipment we need to resume the generation of low-carbon electricity is fully available as soon as possible."