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EDF Energy announces 10-year life extension for Dungeness B nuclear power station

21 January 2015

EDF Energy has announced that its Dungeness B nuclear power station will have a 10-year life extension to 2028. The decision follows a £150m investment programme to extend the life of the station and comes after extensive reviews of the plant’s safety cases and work with the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Dungeness B - Image: EDF Energy
Dungeness B - Image: EDF Energy

The station, near the town of Lydd on the south coast of England, will be subject to continuing independent safety reviews by the ONR.

Improvement projects at Dungeness B have already included a £75m upgrade to control room computer systems and £8m on enhanced flood defences.

The life extension at Dungeness B is part of a wider EDF Energy programme to extend the lives of its eight UK nuclear power stations. Based on the expected life extensions, all seven AGR stations will be operating in 2023 when the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C is due to be commissioned, subject to a final investment decision.

The case for investment in Dungeness B and other nuclear power stations 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. EDF Energy is currently investing around £600m a year at its eight nuclear stations.

Today’s announcement also secures 550 jobs and work for 200 contractors at the site, as well as maintaining essential expertise in engineering and the UK nuclear industry.

The decision was formally announced this morning by EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz at an event in London for EDF Energy’s strategic supply partners. Many of these companies have worked with EDF Energy on the investment and technical innovation needed to safely extend the life of its nuclear power stations.

During the conference, new supplier contracts will be signed including:
• £150m over five years with Cape plc for the supply of access, insulation and services in support of all EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations. Around 300 jobs will be safeguarded by this contract plus 200 during “outage” maintenance periods.

• A contract with Cavendish Nuclear, part of Babcock International, for carrying out inspections of graphite in the reactors, maintaining gas circulators and providing support at all the EDF Energy nuclear stations. The agreement is worth around £40 million every year.

• A strategic nuclear partnership between EDF Energy, Amec Foster Wheeler, Cavendish Nuclear, Atkins and Doosan Babcock to share knowledge and expertise in support of the nuclear stations.

Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy Chief Executive, said: “The decision to extend the life of Dungeness B is only possible because of the collaboration, innovation and technical expertise of EDF Energy and its long-term partners. Customers will benefit from this significant investment through many more years of reliable, low carbon electricity.”

Martin Pearson, Station Director at Dungeness B, said: “We’ve invested heavily in Dungeness so that we could make the case to safely extend its life by ten years.

“Life extension means the station will continue to provide hundreds of skilled jobs and provide a launchpad for the apprentices who will begin their careers at Dungeness B. We’ll also carry on contributing more than £40 million to the local economy in Kent and East Sussex.”

Dungeness B has two Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs) capable of producing 1050 MW. Last year the station produced 4.4TWh of electricity, equivalent to the power used each year by around 1.5m homes.

Update:  On January 28, the ONR confirmed that EDF Energy had demonstrated that its Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk can continue to operate safely until 2025.

Although the PSR is not complete until an agreed programme of work (link to PAR) has been delivered, the ONR has identified no issues of nuclear safety significance that could impact generation at Sizewell B to the next date of review (2025). ONR identified a number of areas for improvement for the licensee and will monitor its progress in completing this work.

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