A key safety limit at one of Britain's nuclear power stations is being raised in order to allow the life of the reactor to be extended.
The agreement now allows an increase to the amount of weight graphite bricks at the core of the reactor at Dungeness B in Kent can be.
These bricks, which are each about a metre in height, are cracking and starting to lose weight due to decades of radiation. The current graphite weight loss limit for Dungeness is set at 6.2% but the regulator says when it reached 5.7% its operator, French power giant EDF, applied to raise it to 8%.
The nuclear reactor at Dungeness B would have breached the safety margin within months which could have forced the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to prosecute or even shut it down.
The safety margins cover thousands of graphite bricks at the core of Britain's 14 elderly Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs).