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Two nuclear power stations could be out of action until December, says EDF via The Guardian

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool reactors are offline as Britain’s electricity system struggles with retirement of old plants

Two nuclear stations that play a vital role helping to keep Britain’s already fragile electricity system intact could be out of action till the end of the year, EDF Energy said on Thursday.

The ongoing problems at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool reactors, taken offline last month, forced Centrica, a 20% owner of the atomic fleet with EDF, to issue a profit warning.

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The power outages following the discovery of a fault on a boiler “spine” at Heysham 1 have already led the National Grid to fast-forward an emergency plan to obtain more electricity from other providers to meet a possible shortfall.

The Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear plants have a combined capacity of about 2.4 gigawatts (GW) and are out of action at a time when part of the 2GW Ferrybridge coal-fired station is also temporarily closed down due to a fire. The margin between supply and demand inside UK’s electricity system is already very low due to the retirement of old nuclear and coal plants.

EDF Energy operates 15 nuclear reactors in Britain but its other reactors have a different boiler design and the company said it did not see a risk of them suffering from the same fault.

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