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Awards 2024

EDF confirms plans to keep turbines turning at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool power stations

EDF confirms plans to keep turbines turning at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool power stations

  • Heysham 1 and Hartlepool are forecast to generate zero-carbon electricity for 2 years longer, supporting energy security, reducing demand for imported gas and lowering carbon emissions
  • EDF has already invested over £7billion in the UK nuclear fleet since 2009 to extend the generating lifetimes of the existing fleet, delivering over 30% more output than originally forecast
  • Keeping the existing stations generating longer also helps preserve vital nuclear skills as the UK aims to rebuild its civil nuclear capacity

Two nuclear power stations in the North of England are expected to keep generating zero-carbon electricity for longer, helping deliver more energy security for the UK.

Heysham 1, in Lancashire, and Hartlepool, in Teesside both mark 40 years of generation this year. In 2009, when EDF took responsibility for the fleet, they were due to end generation in 2014. EDF invested significant resources to enable the forecast to move to 2024. This has now been moved out by a further 2 years to March 2026.

The decision has been made after a rigorous review by EDF of the technical and commercial cases for life extension.

In particular, positive inspections of the graphite reactor cores during 2022 have increased confidence that the stations can generate for longer and continue to meet stringent regulatory standards.

Matt Sykes, Managing Director of EDF’s Generation business said: “Supplying zero-carbon and affordable electricity, whatever the weather, has never been more important than right now. Our ongoing investment and careful stewardship of the UK nuclear fleet since 2009 has allowed us to make today’s decision and helps support the UK’s energy security at this challenging time.

“As well as helping the UK reduce its use of imported gas, it is also great news for the 2,000 skilled people whose jobs are supported by these sites and will help preserve valuable technical and operational skills that will be critical as the UK seeks to re-build its nuclear capability.”

The additional 29TWh of electricity these stations could generate over that 2-year period could help to displace 6billion cubic metres of gas. The carbon avoided from this displacement is 10million tonnes, like taking 5m cars off the UK’s roads for a year.

Since taking responsibility for the existing UK nuclear fleet in 2009 EDF has invested more than £7billion to support extended operating lifetimes and help UK energy security. Output from the fleet has been more than 30% above what was expected when EDF took on the fleet. Over the next five years (2023-27), the aim is to invest more than £1.5billion to sustain safe and reliable generation, alongside preparing for and delivering defueling.