British Energy reactors off line

British Energy, the UK's biggest power generator, is to keep four nuclear reactors offline until at least July, in order to fix operating systems after discovering corroded wires last year.

"The company has concluded that remedial engineering work is required to enable the return to service of all four reactors,'' BE said in a statement.

BE last year found corroded wires at three of the four sites at Heysham-1 and Hartlepool, prompting the electricity firm to stop the generators in October.

The statement said the firm expected the reactors to start during the second half of the year, or in the second and third quarters of its 2008-2009 financial year.

The Livingston-based group may have to pay at least £70 million for the shutdown of the two reactors, according to analysts, with the cost of the investigation into problems expected to reach around £20 million.

BE, which has a stock market value of around £5.5 billion, releases third quarter results next month.

BE loses income from power sales when plants are shut.

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