Hartlepool nuclear reactor set to go back online after fire

Emergency services on scene at Hartlepool power station.
Emergency services on scene at Hartlepool power station.

A REACTOR at Hartlepool Power Station that was shut down after a fire is due to be brought back online in the next few days.

The nuclear power station’s second reactor was shut down after a small fire was detected in the turbine hall of unit 2 on Saturday night.

Bosses have spent the last few days assessing whether the incident, believed to have been started after an oil leak, had caused any damage to the operation of the site.

But after checks and tests were carried out, it has been given the all clear and Reactor 2 is set to be brought back into service within before the start of next week.

A power station spokesman said: “We are looking to return Reactor 2 to service in the next few days and both reactors will running at the same time.

“The fire at the weekend was contained to the lagging which smouldered.

“We are using the time it is out of use to allow work to be carried out elsewhere on the plant which is not related to the fire.”

The fire happened while Reactor 2 was being brought back into service at around 6.30pm on Saturday following a statutory outage.

It sparked a major response by the emergency services including 10 fire engines from across the region who raced to the scene in Tees Road, Hartlepool.

Police and the ambulance service also attended as a precaution but nobody was hurt during the incident.

Smoke was sent billowing into the air and large amounts of steam were vented from generators as part of the plant’s safety procedures.

The section of Tees Road either side of the power station was cordoned off by police to prevent any motorists from passing while the incident was ongoing.

There was a flurry of activity on social media including Facebook and Twitter but EDF Energy – which runs the power station – said there was no risk of harm to the public at any time during the incident.

The power station is capable of producing enough electricity to power 2.5 million households across the country.

It is expected to be decommissioned in 2019.

The station’s Reactor 1 has continued to operate at full power over the last few days and was not in any way affected by Saturday’s drama.