Hinkley Point B nuclear power station to continue operating until 2023
Hinkley Point B will continue to operate for a further seven years, EDF Energy has announced this morning.
The nuclear power station is now expected to reman in operation until at least 2023 following the announcement, which was made as CEO Vincent de Rivaz reopened a visitor centre in Bridgwater's town centre.
Both Hinkley B and Hunterston B in North Ayrshire had been due to cease operation in 2016, but they have each been given seven-year extensions.
EDF has described the announcement as " good news for more than 1500 employees and contractors at the two plants".
Mr de Rivaz said: "This decision will provide low carbon energy to keep the lights on in the UK and it will safeguard jobs at the plants, in the UK nuclear industry and its supply chain.
"It follows a thorough review of safety over the lifetime of each of the plants.
"We continue to invest £300 million each year on capital expenditure in the nuclear fleet, and we spend an additional £350 million on plant operations with 90 per cent of the total being spent in the UK.
"Extending the plants’ lives also brings significant training and employment opportunities for a new generation of nuclear engineers and operators as we seek to develop the UK’s position as a primary source for skills and expertise in the industry.
"Life extension does not replace the need for new low carbon generation. Even as we agree to extend the life of our existing plants, we are moving forward with plans to create the next generation of nuclear power stations."
EDF Energy has applied to build a new power station at the site near Bridgwater. A decision on the Hinkley C proposal is expected in the New Year.
It has received high-profile opposition from anti-nuclear groups, including a weekend of protests in Bridgwater in October.
The reopened visitor centre will give local people and others the opportunity to see how the station operates, EDF said.
"We have always committed to operating openly and transparently," Mr de Rivaz added.
"Following the events at Fukushima, the chief nuclear inspector recommended that the nuclear industry look at ways to ensure more trusted, open and transparent relationships with the public and other stakeholders.
"We pledged to implement his recommendations in full and the decision to reopen this visitor centre is proof of our commitment."
OCTOBER STOP HINKLEY PROTEST IN BRIDGWATER