Nuclear shutdown at Heysham for £25m maintenance programme

One of Heysham Power Station's nuclear reactors has been switched off for a planned £25m maintenance programme.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:00 pm
The nuclear reactor at Heysham 2 will be shut down for two months

Staff at Heysham 2 power station are primed for a busy two months as they turn off one of the site’s reactors for the work which will also see a boost to the local economy.

The reactor was turned off on Friday January 31 and the station’s regular 750 workforce will be doubled during this maintenance shutdown which supports the station’s plan to run until 2030.

Many of these extra support staff are from Heysham, Morecambe and Lancaster while those who come from across the UK will be staying in and around the area during the shutdown.

Maintenance at Heysham 2

This investment at Heysham 2 during these maintenance shutdowns is part of EDF’s wider annual maintenance programme which sees more than £500m invested in the company’s eight existing nuclear power stations across the UK, which provide up to 20 per cent of the UK’s power each year.

Mark Lees, station director at Heysham 2 said: “These eight-week shutdowns are a key part of station life and support our plans to run for at least another decade.

“As engineers we look forward to getting our hands on the plant to safely carry out maintenance and inspections.

“The shutdowns, which take around two years to plan, allow us to get into places we can’t when we are operating – including inside the reactor itself.

“But these things do not happen without lots of planning, investment and total commitment from a very professional team of people here at Heysham 2.”

The extensive programme of work includes replacing gas circulators, which help cool the reactor, and also replacing some of the site’s turbines.

Mark said: “During the shutdown we are supported by around 750 extra skilled people, many of whom are drawn from the local community.”

“We know that the local economy receives a real boost during the shutdowns as those working here temporarily support the restaurants, shops, and hotels.

“Once this reactor’s shutdown is safely completed in early April we will be back to making low carbon electricity for around one million homes.”

Heysham 2’s two reactors generate enough low carbon electricity to power around two million homes which saves around eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to removing 3.7m cars from Britain’s roads for a year.