Scottish nuclear power station sets 41-year record for non-stop electricity generation

A Scottish nuclear power station has just completed the longest non-stop electricity generation record in its 41-year history.

The Hunterston-B reactor near Largs, North Ayrshire, had been running 24 hours a day for 495 days when it was deliberately taken off-line for planned maintenance last week.

EDF – the state-owned French nuclear conglomerate which owns Hunterston – carries out routine maintenance on each of its reactors every three years.

These are planned in advance with the National Grid to ensure that there is no impact on the national electricity supply. The second reactor at Hunterston B is due to continue operating normally throughout the maintenance works.

Hunterston station director Colin Weir, said: “This period of maintenance marks the best run of electricity generation in Hunterston B power station’s 41 year history.

“This achievement is testament to both the planning and commitment of the station’s dedicated workforce and the investment by EDF Energy. 

“The outage will see around £20 million of investment in the power station and will give us the chance to do inspections and carry out pieces of work we are not able to perform when the reactor is operating.

“As part of this maintenance we will be working with local suppliers and bringing in an additional 450 workers who will be staying in local hotels and B&B’s, eating in the local restaurants and using taxi firms. It is great that our investment in the power station can also benefit our local community just as the peak tourist season is coming to an end.”

Hunterston B power station’s two nuclear reactors generate enough electricity to power almost two million homes and started operating in 1976. The station –  (pictured above) –  which employs more than 500 full time staff and around 250 contractors – is due to close down in 2023.

Meanwhile, the UK government has announced that it will set up a new ‘Brit-atom’ regulator to provide a domestic nuclear safeguards regime to replace the current Euratom treaty on Brexit from the EU.

Brit-Govt energy minister Greg Clark said that the new UK regime, to be run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, will be as ‘comprehensive and robust’ as that currently provided by Euratom.

15 Sept 2017

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