Heysham 2 nuclear reactor shuts down for £25m outage


February 05, 2020

Heysham 2 power station is in the midst of a two-month shutdown for £25m worth of maintenance work.

The nuclear power station has doubled its workforce to 1500 during the planned 'outage' while one of its reactors is turned off for inspections and improvement work.

The shutdown will support the station's plan to keep operating until 2030 and the station says it will help boost the local economy.

Many of the extra support staff brought in for the shutdown are from Heysham, Morecambe and Lancaster but there are also many others from across the UK who will be staying in the area while the work takes place.

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, which began after the reactor was turned off on January 31, 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.

As part of the maintenance shutdown, residents near the site might hear some occasional loud noises over the next day or so. This is planned but will be kept at a minimum to cause the least disruption.