Extended life for two UK nuclear power stations

Vitality 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 12 months, 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 folks work on the two websites, with lots of 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 “important significance” of bolstering vitality safety.

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool started working in 1983. Every has two Superior Fuel 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 underneath intense scrutiny.

The majority of our electrical energy is generated from fuel. Final 12 months, the battle in Ukraine led to a sudden spike in fuel costs – which additionally led to a steep improve in electrical energy payments.

Renewable era, from wind and solar energy for instance, has been rising quickly in recent times. However the quantity out there to the grid can range based on the time of day and the climate.

Supporters of nuclear era argue that it gives baseload energy – in different phrases, a predictable and secure provide – though different sources are wanted to react rapidly to spikes in demand.

To forestall 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 begin producing energy, as a mixture of excessive demand and restricted provides led to issues about attainable shortages.

A brand new scheme underneath which shoppers 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 industrial instances for maintaining them open.

It pointed to inspections of the reactor cores final 12 months which “elevated confidence that the stations can generate for longer and proceed to satisfy stringent regulatory requirements”.

The corporate has, nonetheless, closed three different nuclear energy stations over the previous 18 months.

Beneath present plans, even with the extensions agreed right this moment, the nation’s whole fleet of AGR reactors is because of shut by 2028.

Sizewell B, a reactor constructed to a unique design, is predicted 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 underneath building.

The brand new £25bn plant, which has been beset by rising prices and delays, shouldn’t be anticipated to open earlier than June 2027.

An skilled group that features some vocal opponents of nuclear energy, the Worldwide Nuclear Danger Evaluation Group, stated in 2021 – in a report taking a look at ageing nuclear energy vegetation – that extensions inevitably improve the chance of accidents, together with the discharge of radioactive substances in to the surroundings.

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool started producing energy within the Nineteen Eighties.

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