2nd September 2020 | Posted by: Daniel Birkett | Industry News

EDF has announced it will close its Hunterston B nuclear power plant for good in 2022 despite approval to operate until 2023.

EDF’s Hunterston B nuclear power plant will close a year earlier than scheduled and will commence decommissioning on the 7th of January 2022 at the latest. This is despite the plant, which is based in North Ayrshire, Scotland having regulatory approval to operate until March 2023.

EDF announced that it will accelerate the site’s closure due to the ‘age of the station’ and to ‘provide clarity to its staff’.

The facility was originally due to close in 2016 but a cash injection by EDF extended its life until 2023.

The power plant currently employs around 500 full-time staff, in addition to 200 contractors. 125 jobs are expected to be lost when the plant ceases operation, while the rest of the workforce will be retained until 2025 during its refuelling process.

In addition, the facility’s Reactor 3 will be restarted for the first time since 2018, when it was closed for safety reasons due to 350 cracks detected in the graphite reactor cores.

The reactor will run for a six-month period and authorisation will be requested to extend its operations for another six-months next spring.

A recent inspection stated the reactor can operate safely now the operation limit has increased to 700 cracks. EDF’s internal inspection also proved that the core could withstand Earthquakes which are only seen once in ten-thousand years.

Managing director for EDF’s generation business, Matt Sykes said: “Hunterston B has quietly delivered a major contribution to the UK for more than 40 years.

“It has far exceeded its original remit and, over its lifetime, gone on to safely produce enough low-carbon energy to power the whole of Scotland for eight years.

“Our focus is on continuing to safely deliver the last period of power generation and then transition the station into decommissioning.”

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