Nuclear generator British Energy has admitted that it is likely to fall short of its generation targets this year after large unplanned losses struck at its performance.

In reporting its results for the first quarter, ending July, of its 2006-07 financial year it says: “Whilst very challenging, we continue to work towards achieving 63TWh for the financial year 2006/07. However we now expect output to be in the range 61TWh to 63TWh assuming no large losses occur.”

Strong electricity prices enabled the company to deliver a reasonable financial performance for the first quarter, with a net profit of £75 million ($138 million) on the quarter ahead, well up on 2005’s £16 million despite a nuclear output well below expectations. Prices are reflected in an increased operating margin of £13.8/MWh ($25.5/MWh), compared with £4.0/MWh ($7.4/MWh) in the previous corresponding period.

Total output was down from 17.4TWh to 17.0TWh, of which nuclear provided 15.3TWh and coal 1.7TWh. Boiler tube cracking at its Hunterston B plant played a significant part in bringing down the figures.

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