Letter to the Hinkley Site Stakeholder Group - 18 September 2020
Dear SSG member,
I hope you are remaining safe and well during these extraordinary times.
I thought I would take the opportunity to write and update you on recent operational developments at Hinkley Point B.
As I mentioned in my letter on 8 June, both reactors at Hinkley Point B are shutdown following planned maintenance and graphite inspection programmes. I am pleased to report the results from the graphite inspections we undertook on both reactor cores (27 channels in reactor 4 and 36 channels in reactor 3) were within expectations and confirms the graphite is behaving exactly as experts predicted it would. We are now working on a new and detailed safety case which reflects the findings from these inspections and includes the results from other analysis and modelling to operate throughout 2021 and 2022.
This new safety case needs to be vigorously reviewed and assessed by our regulator (Office for Nuclear Regulation), and to allow sufficient time for this to happen, we have moved our planned return to service dates for both units back to early next year. Based on our current estimates, reactor 4 will return to service on 26 February 2021 and reactor 3 on 12 March 2021. During this extended period, we will be taking the opportunity to carry out additional maintenance.
At previous SSG meetings, I have explained how we have always known and understood the graphite that makes up the cores of our reactors change over time, and it’s part of the normal ageing process of our reactors. We have invested over £200 million on the graphite research programme which benefits from the expertise of our team of specialists, as well as academics at several leading UK universities.
I hope this information is useful to you as a member of the Site Stakeholder Group, and I will of course provide a full update on the latest position at our next meeting. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact either myself or Dave Stokes (Hinkley Point B’s Community Liaison Officer) on 01278 654699 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Station Director Hinkley Point B