EDF could shut two more UK nuclear plants: report
French energy giant EDF is mulling the early closure of two more UK nuclear power plants due to safety issues, reports said Monday, dealing a blow to Britain’s zero-carbon hopes.
Torness in Scotland and Heysham 2 in northwest England are scheduled to close in 2030 — but this “could be earlier” due to safety issues, EDF chief technical officer Richard Bradfield told The Times newspaper.
“There is a risk to the 2030 (planned closure date) but nothing has changed so far,” a UK-based spokeswoman told AFP when asked about the matter.
Two other facilities, Heysham 1 and Hartlepool in the northeast, are also expected to develop cracks but both are due to shut by March 2024, Bradfield said in The Times report.
The news comes one week after EDF announced it would begin decommissioning its Dungeness B plant in southeast England with immediate effect.
Dungeness B went offline in September 2018 for maintenance amid ongoing technical challenges, but analysis has highlighted risks with components.
EDF’s latest woes highlight the failing health of UK nuclear power plants — and raise questions about the government’s attempts to decarbonise electricity supplies.
In another major setback, EDF in January delayed completion of a new nuclear plant in southwest England by six months.
Hinkley Point C, which aims to provide seven percent of Britain’s total power needs, has been plagued by spiralling costs and is now due to start generating electricity in June 2026.
The total cost of Hinkley has now swelled to as much as £23 billion ($32.5 billion, 27 billion euros).
Britain’s nuclear power plants built last century have either closed or are approaching the end of their lifespan.
However, the government wants to maintain the 20 percent of electricity it generates from nuclear to help meet its pledge to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and tackle climate change.
Britain will host the COP26 UN climate gathering in Glasgow in November.