Second reactor at UK's Hinkley Point B switched off for decommissioning

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LONDON (Reuters) - EDF Energy, the biggest nuclear power provider in Britain, permanently switched off the second reactor at Hinkley Point B in Somerset on Monday, the company said on its website.

The 1 gigawatt (GW) plant began producing electricity for the UK grid in 1976.

Hinkley Point B has faced issues with ageing, with cracks found in graphite bricks which form the reactor's core.

The Hinkley Point B-7 reactor will soon start the defueling process which involves removing the nuclear fuel from the reactors and could take a few years, according to EDF.

The site's other reactor, B-8, was shut down last month.

After the fuel is removed both reactors will will be handed over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for decommissioning.

EDF Energy is currently building a new plant, Hinkley Point C.

It is expected to start operations in 2027, a decade later than originally planned, and cost an estimated 25 billion to 26 billion pounds.

Britain is seeking to ramp up nuclear generation to account for around a quarter of all electricity by 2050, up from around 15% now.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely)

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