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“Potential for serious personal injury” during steam leak at Heysham 1 nuclear reactor

20 February 2024

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has served an improvement notice on EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd following an incident at Heysham 1 Power Station in Lancashire, UK. The incident occurred on 23 December 2023 while Reactor 1 was being returned to service when a valve controlling the flow of superheated steam from the reactor failed, resulting in a steam leak.

Heysham 2 power station - Image: EDF
Heysham 2 power station - Image: EDF

Nobody was injured as a result of the incident, and there was no risk to nuclear safety, the public or the environment. However, ONR identified the potential for serious personal injury, if people had been present in the area near the valve.

Mike Webb, ONR’s Superintending Inspector for Operating Reactors, said: “Our investigation found that EDF had failed to ensure that the valve system was properly maintained and, by failing to do this, EDF had put at risk the safety of their employees.

“We will engage with EDF during the period of the improvement notice to ensure positive progress is made to address the shortfall.”

ONR has issued the improvement notice to EDF under the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR) Regulation 12 (Maintenance) and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Section 2(1).

EDF has until 30 April to comply with the improvement notice.

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