Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point consists of two nuclear power stations.

Hinkley Point A consists of two Magnox reactors. Both reactors were shutdown in April 1999 to carry out reinforcement work following a Nuclear Installations Inspectorate Periodic Safety Review. Reactor 2 was returned to service in September 1999, but shut down on 3 December 1999 because of newly identified uncertainties in the reactor pressure vessel material properties. Because of the cost of remedying these problems, it was announced on 23 May 2000 that Hinkley Point A would be shutdown.

Hinkley Point B is an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) which was designed to generate 1250 MW of electricity (MWe).

In 2006 the station's reactors were closed for testing microscopic defects that had been found in similar reactors. Due to the fact it is ageing, it will, if it returns to full service, only generate 570 MW per reactor instead of the rated 625 MWe, in total producing 1140 MWe. However on 16 August 2006 the company warned that until a decision was made over whether to extend its usable life, it would operate at a maximum of 70 per cent load. Both reactors were subsequently restarted generating 420 MWe each, roughly 70% of full power. The number 4 reactor was cleared for restart by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on 11 May 2007. The power station current accounting closure date in 2016, though it could possibly be life-extended beyond that date.

In September 2008 it was announced, by Electricité de France (EDF) the new owners of Hinkley Point B, that a third, twin-unit European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) reactor is planned for Hinkley Point, to join Hinkley Point A (Magnox), which is now closed and being decommissioned, and the Hinkley Point B (AGR) which is due for closure in 2016.

On 18 October 2010 the British government announced that Hinkley Point was one of the eight sites it considered suitable for future nuclear power stations.

Sources: Wikipedia on Hinkley Point A, Wikipedia on Hinkley Point B, Wikipedia on Hinkley Point C

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