EDF has announced its Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Ayrshire, Scotland, is to be shut down early and will start to be decommissioned in January 2022.
The French energy giant had planned to keep generating electricity from the 44-year-old facility until 2023 but says it will now move into the defuelling phase no later than 7th January 2022 – this is the first stage of the nuclear decommissioning process and is expected to take several years.
In the interim, the firm has secured approval to restart one of Hunterston’s reactors for an initial six-month period, following a two-year shutdown and inspection and investment programme following the discovery of cracks in the reactor during 2018.
This plan subject to a further inspection in Spring 2021 and then regulatory approval for a final six months of operation.
Matt Sykes, Managing Director for EDF’s Generation business, 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 8 years.”
“We didn’t know back in the 1960s, when these plants were designed, just how important low carbon energy would become. We owe all those that designed, built, commissioned and still operate the station a huge debt of gratitude. Our focus is on continuing to safely deliver the last period of power generation and then transition the station into decommissioning.”