Yesterday, nuclear generator BE posted a profits warning: “It is unfortunate that … ‘legacy’ Boiler Closure Unit issues at
Significant and unfortunate indeed: and getting worse. Last year saw ‘unplanned losses’ of output equal to 23% of the nuclear capacity that should have been available after routine outages. This year we are invited to expect ‘unplanned losses’ somewhere between 26–35%. ‘Legacy issues’ presumably means ‘no-one’s fault’: so that’s alright.
Actually, of course, it's pretty bad, but it illuminates the potential for something still worse. BE’s nuclear fleet is comprised of AGRs (apart from Sizewell B, a PWR), and they have been beset by legacy issues. There is the clear possibility something nasty might crop up that would cause the whole lot to be closed down at once. And we’d be on our own to fix it: unlike the PWR, the AGR is a design unique to
But CEO Bill Coley is undaunted. “We have found no factors to indicate that we can’t extend the life of these stations” beyond their design-life of 30 years, he said, adding that an extension of between five and ten years was likely.
If running properly, AGRs represent somewhat under 20% of the
We shall return to BE later in the week with more gems from their half-year report.
Photo: British Energy Group plc