French owners obtain seven year life extension for Scottish nuclear power plant

The reactor hall at Torness nuclear power plant
The reactor hall at Torness nuclear power plant

The Nuclear Industry Association, the UK trade body for the civil nuclear sector, has today welcomed the news that EDF Energy plans to extend the life of Torness nuclear power station, so that it will run until 2030.

The seven year life extension was announced by EDF Energy as it also said it was to extend the operation of a further three reactors in England.

The nuclear industry generates a third of all electricity produced in Scotland – EDF also own and operate Scotland’s other nuclear plant at Hunterston, near Largs.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association, said: “Scotland’s nuclear power stations produce a third of all power generated here, so it is good news that Torness will operate for a further seven years to 2030, contributing to the total low carbon power generated in Scotland.

 “Nuclear, along with wind, solar and hydro power, now together make up three quarters of the power supply generated in Scotland and are all low carbon energy sources.

Tom Greatrex
Tom Greatrex

“Although Scotland continues to import power from the rest of the UK when wind is limited, our nuclear power stations provide secure, low carbon power to households and businesses, and support more than 3,750 skilled jobs throughout Scotland.”

EDF also announced similar life extensions for the following nuclear plants in England; –

  • Scheduled closure dates for Heysham 1 and Hartlepool extended by five years to 2024
  • Scheduled closure dates for Heysham 2 extended by seven years to 2030

EDF’s underlying operating profit (EBIT) in 2015 was £664 million – 15% lower than in 2014 (£783m) as a result of its ongoing investment programme.

EDF is re-investing all of its operational profit – and more –  back into the business, with more than £1.3 billion being spent on its existing nuclear and coal stations, renewables and on its new nuclear project, Hinkley Point C.

However, EDF’s nuclear power output last year was 60.6TWh –  its highest level for 10 years and 50% higher than in 2008 when EDF Energy acquired the stations.

Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations.  Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever.

“In today’s extremely challenging market conditions, our belief that Government policy will be maintained and strengthened gives us the confidence to invest in our nuclear stations. This gives customers the best value low carbon electricity available.”

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