Hinkley Point B power station near Burnham-On-Sea has been taken out of service this week, but EDF Energy says the work is for routine maintenance and that power supplies will not be affected.

The energy firm says the reactor was taken out of operation on Friday (January 23rd) at the start of a £40million maintenance programme that will see an extra 1,000 workers brought in over the next ten weeks to carry out 12,000 separate pieces of work.

The work will include inspections inside the reactor plus the installation of new equipment at the site.

EDF says the work will include replacing two large gas circulators which help cool the reactor, as well as replacing blades on the turbine which is used to turn steam into low carbon electricity.

The maintenance periods, known as ‘statutory outages’, take place every three years and are planned in advance with National Grid to ensure there is no impact on the UK’s electricity supplies.

EDF says that Hinkley Point B’s other reactor is due to continue operating normally throughout the period.

Station director Mike Harrison said: “This inspection and investment programme has been carefully planned over the last two years and will enable us to continue safely generating low carbon electricity at Hinkley B for many years to come.”

Mike Davies, Outage Manager, added: “Taking the reactor out of service means we can inspect it and carry out maintenance which we wouldn’t normally be able to do. Inspections will take place inside the reactor as well as in its boilers. We’ll be working closely with our contractors and nuclear engineering specialists from across the country to get this work done on time.”

Hinkley Point B’s two reactors generate enough electricity to power around 1.5million homes.