British Energy to lose £25m of sales

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The Independent Online

The troubled nuclear electricity producer British Energy said yesterday it faced "material" costs after running into problems at its Sizewell and Heysham power stations.

The financial setback, likely to be about £25m, is a consequence of losing sales of electricity at a time when power prices are rising at the onset of the colder weather. Sizewell and Heysham supply 4 per cent of the electricity in England and Wales between them.

The blow comes less than a month after British Energy agreed a financial restructuring with creditors and the Government to save it from bankruptcy. Under the restructuring, British Energy gave assurances it would produce 67 terrawatt hours of electricity from its eight stations. This month's setbacks could lose 0.8 Twh or 12 per cent of the total. A terrawatt hour is 1,000 megawatts

British Energy also said no significant surface defects have been found in welds at Sizewell B, which was shut down as planned on 4 October for routine statutory tests and maintenance. Heysham 1 was shut down on Tuesday when seawater spurted from a cooling pipe into the turbine hall. British Energy said yesterday there had been no leakage of radiation.

The two stations are expected to be back in service by the middle of next month.