Letter: Shutdown at Sizewell B

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The Independent Online
Shutdown at Sizewell B

Sir: Your coverage of British Energy's privatisation was marred by the references to "news of Sizewell B's closure ... because of safety concerns" (15 July).

First and foremost, there are no safety concerns. The discovery of one or two failed fuel pins at Sizewell B is neither unexpected nor worrying - around the world such a failure rate is regarded as normal and it does not alter our expectation that Sizewell's first statutory outage will be completed on schedule. Furthermore, the "news" of what is in fact a scheduled statutory outage was first announced months ago; it's in the prospectus.

You also referred to "two further closures of AGR stations". Perhaps you would allow me to put the whole thing into context. Apart from the two short inspection outages - purely precautionary - all the British Energy reactors currently shut down were scheduled to be shut down for routine inspection, maintenance, repair and refuelling during the summer season when prices are low. As far as we are concerned, that's business as usual - safety first but with commercial consideration important too.


Chief Executive

British Energy