Four nuclear reactors in the UK that were shut down may not be back online until the end of the year, EDF Energy has confirmed.
The company’s Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power stations were taken offline last month to conduct inspections of their boilers after a fault was found.
EDF Energy said it has completed the inspections at two of the reactors and no defects have been found. The remaining boiler inspections are underway.
“Depending on the progress of the programme and any necessary modifications, the company expects there to be a phased return to service between the end of October and the end of December 2014,” EDF Energy said.
It added: “Dates for returning the stations to service depend on the findings and completion of the inspections.”
The two nuclear plants, which have a total capacity of around 2.4GW, are said to provide around 4% of the UK’s peak power demand during the winter.
The news follows National Grid’s call for extra electricity capacity to address the risk of a potential shortfall this winter.