EDF Energy plans 10 more years for British nuclear plant

20th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

French owned EDF Energy on Tuesday announced it would extend the life of Britain's Dungeness B nuclear power station by 10 years after a £150-million ($227-million, 195-million euros) investment programme.

The station's two advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR) will stay online until 2028, securing 550 permanent jobs and providing work for 200 contractors, according to an EDF statement. The original contract had been due to run until 2018.

"EDF Energy has extended the expected life of its Dungeness B nuclear power station by ten years," said the statement.

"This means it is due to continue generating low carbon electricity until 2028, producing enough power each year to supply the equivalent of 1.5 million homes."

Investment has included a £75-million ($114-million, 98-million-euros) upgrade to control room computer systems and £8.0 million on flood defences at the station on England's southeast coast.

Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy chief executive, promised that "customers will benefit from this significant investment through many more years of reliable, low carbon electricity".

The two reactors started generating power in 1983 and last year produced 4.4TWh of electricity, equivalent to the power used annually by 40 percent of homes in London.

EDF said the investment had been made possible by Britain's energy market reforms and the introduction of the "capacity market", which sees power generators bid for the right to deliver a portion of future energy requirements.

"The case for investment in Dungeness B... has been supported by the existence of the capacity market -- one of the reforms of the electricity market which gives investors confidence in highly challenging conditions," said the statement.

EDF hopes to upgrade all of its eight nuclear power stations -- seven AGR and one pressurized water reactor (PWR) -- that it owns in Britain.

The firm is meanwhile building a £24.5-billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

Britain has placed nuclear at the heart of its low-carbon energy policy in stark contrast to Europe's biggest economy Germany, which has vowed to phase out nuclear power in the wake of Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster.

© 2015 AFP

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