Stop Hinkley Press Release

Hinkley restart dates in doubt

20th November 2006

Stop Hinkley has received information under the Freedom of Information Act to confirm that the 'expected' restart dates for Hinkley Point B had not been cleared by the nuclear safety regulator.

British Energy had made the announcement on Friday 17th November that Reactor 3 would be expected to restart at the end of December and Reactor 4 at the end of January, both after temporary repairs had been made, to be completed in a further outage in the summer.

But restarting a nuclear reactor after safety repairs requires a detailed safety case to be made by the operator and agreed by the regulator. As the boiler tubes are in a sensitive area inside the reactor pressure vessel, this may not be straightforward and BE will have to demonstrate that the temporary repairs will achieve as much safety as before the damage was discovered in September.

Jim Duffy spokesman for Stop Hinkley said: "British Energy wanted to sweeten their investors with a promise which they hadn't even squared with the safety regulator. Perhaps they believe the inspectors will fall in with their finance-driven timetable but safety must come first. It's obvious what British Energy's priorities are here."

Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator, 07968 974805

Email from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate 20th November, responding to our request under the Freedom of Information Act concerning Hinkley and Hunterson restart dates:

Dear Jim, Thank you for your request for information about correspondence between NII and BE concerning the expected restart dates of Hinkley Pt B and Hunterston B following their current outages and announced in BE's 6-monthly statement on Friday 17/11/06. Your request was received on 20 November 2006 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Having liased with those persons responsible for the above mentioned sites they have confirmed to me that there has been no correspondence between NII and BE that specifically states any expected restart dates. However the following link to the HSE website details the process undertaken by NII following and after a periodic shutdown which you may find helpful: http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/nsd/tech_insp_guides/tins030.pdf

Yours sincerely

Mike Jennions
HSE NII FOIA Officer
Building 4 Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle, Merseyside L20 7HS

Stop Hinkley Logo