The 1.4GW Didcot B power station will run at half its generating capacity for the foreseeable future after a fire damaged four of its cooling towers last night.
The fire started in one cooling tower at the Oxfordshire plant before high winds spread it to three others, located in a module of 15 cooling towers.
The 1,360MW Didcot B plant comprises two combined cycle gas turbine units, each with its own cooling tower module.
The affected part of the site will remain non-operational until an investigation and repairs can take place
As a result of the fire the unit with the affected cooling towers is inoperable, meaning the plant will run at half capacity for the foreseeable future.
The plant, running since 1997, is owned and operated by RWE npower, and a statement release by RWE Generation this morning confirmed that during Sunday evening’s fire “no injuries were recorded to either the emergency services or RWE personnel, and the incident at no time posed a danger to the public”.
“The second generating module at Didcot B is running normally,” the statement continued.
“The affected part of the site will remain non-operational until an investigation and repairs can take place. It is too early to give any definitive estimate of how long this will be.”
Energy and Climate Change secretary Ed Davey said he had spoken to National Grid and been assured that “there is no risk to electricity supplies” from the temporary loss of capacity at Didcot.
“I will be keeping in touch with the relevant authorities throughout,” said Davey.
“My priority is to understand the cause of the fire and get the affected unit back generating electricity as soon as it’s safe to do so.”