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EDF to move Dungeness B into defuelling phase

09 June 2021

EDF confirmed on June 7 that it would be moving its Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent, southeast England into the defuelling phase with immediate effect. Since September 2018 the station has been in an extended outage in which EDF has been managing a range of unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges that are not found at the other six AGR power stations, the company said in a statement.

Image: EDF
Image: EDF

Although many of the challenges have been overcome, new detailed analysis has further highlighted additional station-specific risks within some key components, including parts within the fuel assemblies, EDF said.

As a result, the energy company has taken a decision not to restart the plant but to move it into the defuelling stage. The final generation of electricity in 2018 means the plant ran for 10 years longer than its original design life, and in line with expectations when it was acquired by EDF in 2009.

Since it came online in 1983, Dungeness B has generated enough low carbon energy to meet the needs of every home in Kent for more than 50 years. The station has also helped the UK avoid the emission of almost 50m tonnes of carbon dioxide and contributed more than £1bn into the Kent economy.

Defuelling is the first stage of decommissioning a nuclear power station and a process which involves continued use of EDF’s uniquely experienced teams, and specialist supply chain companies, preserving an important source of jobs in Kent and the surrounding area, EDF added.

In September 2020, EDF Energy announced it was closing its Hunterston B nuclear power station in 2021, two years earlier than intended. The nuclear power station in Ayrshire, Scotland, has been closed since 2018 when 350 cracks were found in the graphite bricks that make up the reactor's core. EDF has spent around £200m trying to fix the reactor since it went offline in 2018.

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