Investigation after Sizewell B shuts down automatically after fault

Sizewell B's reactor and two turbines shut down automatically due to an 'instrumentation fault'

Sizewell B's reactor and two turbines shut down automatically due to an 'instrumentation fault' - Credit: Archant

The Sizewell B nuclear reactor is currently out of action following an "instrumentation fault", which caused the plant to shut down automatically. 

The reactor and two turbines stopped working on Monday and have not yet resumed operation while engineers from EDF Energy, which owns the site, try to restore power. 

An EDF spokesperson said: “We are pleased to confirm that the reactor and both turbines at Sizewell B are due to be back up and running in the next 24 hours following a short outage.  

“The reactor automatically shut down safely on Monday, April 18 after an instrumentation fault. Sizewell B is the most productive station in the UK’s nuclear fleet – in the past decade there has only been four days electricity generation lost due to unplanned shutdowns.” 

Residents living near the power station received letters from EDF reassuring them that there was no danger to their safety from the automated response. 

The letter said: "Work is currently being carried out to discover the cause of the shutdown. The plant has responded as expected and at no time was anyone's safety put at risk.

"Due to the automatic shutdown you will see and hear steam being released into the atmosphere. The steam is from clean water systems and does not present any threat to the public or the environment."

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Earlier this month, the EADT revealed that the operational life of Sizewell B could be extended by at least 20 years - as part of the Government energy strategy.

The station was due to stop producing energy from 2035, but EDF said it would decide within the next two years whether it could be extended to 2055 - saying such a move would protect jobs and UK energy security. 

A final decision on extending Sizewell B's life will be made in 2024, which would then be followed by the required capital investment in the plant, safety enhancements and obtaining the necessary approvals. 

The Government says its strategy aims to make 95% of electricity low carbon by 2030.

Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, is opposed to the Government's energy strategy

Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, is opposed to the Government's energy strategy - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Alison Downes, of the Stop Sizewell C campaign group, said: "Why, with money in short supply and the need for solutions urgent, has the government placed large-scale nuclear front and centre of its energy strategy?  

"Ministers are locking the country into the most risky, slow and expensive energy infrastructure, forcing consumers to pay for it twice - a nuclear tax for construction and higher-priced electricity."