Still no decision on Hinckley C as life of four nuclear stations extended

EDF Energy has pushed back closure dates for four of its seven nuclear power stations. 

The scheduled closure dates for Heysham 1, in Lancashire, and Hartlepool have been extended by five years to 2024. The scheduled closure dates for Heysham 2 and Torness in East Lothian have been extended by seven years to 2030.The extension of the four plants, which employ 2,000 staff and supply electricity to a quarter of the UK’s homes, comes amid ongoing confusion around the delivery of Hinkley Point C.

A final investment decision had been expected this week, to coincide with EDF’s board meeting and today’s annual results announcement.

The four nuclear plants together supply electricity to around a quarter of the UK’s homes. In total, the new duration has the potential to avoid 80m tonnes of C02 emissions, equivalent to taking all the cars off the road in the UK for three and a half years, according to the French energy producer.

EDF says it has been able to extend the closing dates for the four nuclear power stations because Government policies are providing important support for the life extension programme

The announcement follows extensive technical and safety reviews of the plants which have been shared with the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations.  Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever.

“In today’s extremely challenging market conditions, our belief that Government policy will be maintained and strengthened gives us the confidence to invest in our nuclear stations. This gives customers the best value low carbon electricity available.”