'British Energy' -
couldn't organise a piss up in a....... nuclear power station (mine you, that might not be a such a good idea!).
Just listened to a report on BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme that has sent my very core soaring to high temperatures! Two of the nastiest words to be uttered in energy circles for some time now have been......'British Energy'. Mind you right up there would be energy market, Margaret Thatcher, central government and nuclear energy.
British Energy, bailed out by government 4 years ago is on its way to meltdown once again. The recent surge in energy prices had BE and the government smiling. The latter thought they would sell their (our!) 65% stake in BE (bought for £5 billion) on the share market (for £3 billion - a loss note) . Not any more. Energy prices have dropped and only 1 out of 14 (yes, that's 1 of 14) AGR nuclear power stations is operating normally. Four are currently closed due to 'unforseen circumstances'. These stations represent 5% of the UK power supply and if we have a wee cold snape this winter it may well be lights out in Bromley (north London is apparently too important). OK, I know it's still summer out there but the 'experts' are a little nervous.
Hinkley, Hartlepool, Hunterston and Torness are all 'out to lunch' due to maintenance shutdowns. Cracks in boiler tubes has become a familar problem. At Torness alarms signified a fault with gas circulator. Maintenance shift engineers were not on site as they had been removed to an 'on call' status as a cost measure so, the shift operator did what? He ignored the alarm and continued operations! Needless to say further damage was done and Torness has been closed down since. You get the picture.
Who's to blame. The 'energy market' for one, as it doesn't encourage extra capacity investment. The government, as it has no energy policy.........Milton Friedman , Margaret Hatcher oh, and Tony Blah for recently advocating more of the same. Arrrrrrrrrrggghhhhhh!!