Power large EDF has introduced plans to increase the lives of two of the UK’s 5 remaining nuclear energy stations.
Heysham 1 and Hartlepool had been attributable to shut in March subsequent yr, however they are going to now be stored open till early 2026.
The corporate says the transfer will help vitality safety, cut back demand for imported fuel, and cut back carbon emissions.
About 1,400 individuals work on the two websites, with a whole bunch extra within the provide chain.
The federal government welcomed the information, with Secretary of State Grant Shapps saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrated the “very important significance” of bolstering vitality safety.
Heysham 1 and Hartlepool started working in 1983. Every has two Superior Gasoline Cooled reactors, which had been initially scheduled for closure in 2014. Two earlier lifetime extensions had taken the closure date to March 2024.
The 2 energy stations presently account for about 5% of the nation’s electrical energy.
The announcement comes at a time when the nation’s vitality safety has been coming beneath intense scrutiny.
The majority of our electrical energy is generated from fuel. Final yr, the battle in Ukraine led to a sudden spike in fuel costs – which additionally led to a steep enhance in electrical energy payments.
Renewable era, from wind and solar energy for instance, has been rising quickly in recent times. However the quantity accessible to the grid can differ in response to the time of day and the climate.
Supporters of nuclear era argue that it offers baseload energy – in different phrases, a predictable and secure provide – though different sources are wanted to react rapidly to spikes in demand.
To stop potential blackouts this winter, 5 ageing coal vegetation have been stored on standby by Nationwide Grid.
Earlier this week two of them had been ordered to start out producing energy, as a mixture of excessive demand and restricted provides led to considerations about attainable shortages.
A brand new scheme beneath which customers are paid to scale back consumption at peak occasions has additionally been tried out lately.
EDF stated the choice to maintain Heysham 1 and Hartlepool open had been taken following a “rigorous assessment” of the technical and business instances for conserving them open.
It pointed to inspections of the reactor cores final yr which “elevated confidence that the stations can generate for longer and proceed to fulfill stringent regulatory requirements”.
The corporate has, nonetheless, closed three different nuclear energy stations over the previous 18 months.
Underneath present plans, even with the extensions agreed as we speak, the nation’s complete fleet of AGR reactors is because of shut by 2028.
Sizewell B, a reactor constructed to a special design, is anticipated to stay open till 2035.
The federal government is dedicated to constructing a brand new era of nuclear energy stations. However just one – Hinkley Level C – is presently beneath development.
The brand new £25bn plant, which has been beset by rising prices and delays, will not be anticipated to open earlier than June 2027.
An knowledgeable group that features some vocal opponents of nuclear energy, the Worldwide Nuclear Threat Evaluation Group, stated in 2021 – in a report taking a look at ageing nuclear energy vegetation – that extensions inevitably enhance the chance of accidents, together with the discharge of radioactive substances in to the surroundings.
Heysham 1 and Hartlepool started producing energy within the Eighties.