October 8, 2018 / 12:10 PM / 8 months ago

EDF Energy extends Hunterston B-7 UK nuclear outage until Dec. 18

Signage is seen for the EDF energy company on a building near the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Cannington in southwest England, January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - EDF Energy has extended an outage at its Hunterston B-7 nuclear reactor in Britain until Dec. 18, it said on Monday.

The reactor, which can produce enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes, has been offline since March when cracks were found in its core during a routine inspection.

It was initially scheduled to return to service on Nov. 17, but EDF Energy said it had extended the outage to allow the company more time to demonstrate a safety case, needed before Britain’s nuclear regulator will allow the unit to resume service.

“The safety case demonstrating safe operation for the next period of operation is now being assessed internally including with our independent experts,” a spokeswoman for EDF Energy, the British arm of France’s EDF, said via email.

“Once this process is completed, the safety case will be submitted to the nuclear regulator for their assessment,” the spokeswoman said.

EDF Energy’s 15 nuclear reactors provide around 20 percent of Britain’s electricity.

However almost half of this capacity, including Hunterston which is over 40 years old, is due to go offline by 2025.

Reporting By Susanna Twidale; Editing by Susan Fenton

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