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Awards 2024

EDF wants government funds to extend Sizewell B to 2055, among other demands

EDF says there is an “obvious case” for extending the life of Sizewell B nuclear station potentially to 2055 but it needs a government framework to “enable [it] to make those decisions”.

This request comes in EDF’s document detailing its priorities for the next government.

EDF has five operational nuclear power stations in the UK, which account for roughly 15% of the UK’s electricity. Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2 and Torness, which are Advanced Gas-cooled reactors, are reaching the end of their operational lives.

However, EDF has extended Hartlepool and Heysham 1 to 2026 and Heysham 2 and Torness to 2028.

In its manifesto, the energy company says that “thanks to EDF’s expert care and investment, the existing nuclear power stations have generated 212TWh more than originally forecast”.

It says there is a potential to extend their lives safely for longer, but it is asking the government to work with it to deliver these ambitions.

Sizewell B is the main driver in these plans. The pressurised water reactor is currently expected to be decommissioned in 2035. However, it “has the potential to operate to at least 2055”, according to EDF, but “investment is needed this decade”.

The energy company adds: “A mechanism should be developed to safeguard its long-term operation, recognising its value to the country.”

It believes that the output of Sizewell B as well as the four new EPR reactors – two each at the in-development Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C – will replace the capacity of the existing gas cooled reactor fleet.

The government has targeted 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050 and extending Sizewell B could be crucial to meeting this. It could prove critical when there is an inevitable dip in nuclear power generation after the gas cooled reactors go offline and before the new nuclear stations come online