Roy Anderson's departure comes after problems at two nuclear plants

British Energy has parted company with its top nuclear executive as it admitted that problems with two of its plants were threatening electricity production levels.

The Independent reported on Saturday that British Energy’s chief nuclear officer, Roy Anderson, would receive a pay-off of close to £1m as a result of leaving. Chief executive Bill Coley will now take direct control of nuclear operations as a result of a management shake-up.

Analysts have expressed concern at the timing of the management changes, which come as British Energy is attempting to cope with a number of problems with its reactor plants. In a further blow to the nuclear sector, British Energy says its production will be at least 8% below forecasts for the next six months.

Hunterston B in Scotland and Hinkley Point B in Somerset are now known to be suffering from boiler cracks, and British Energy said the two plants would operate at only 70% capacity over the next six months.

A review will be carried out to see whether the cost of dealing with the problem would be more effective than operating at less than 100% capacity.