EDF eyes investment to extend life of nuclear plants

The energy giant is currently building two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

EDF Energy has revealed investment plans to extend the lives of its operational nuclear power plants in the UK.

The French state-owned energy provider said it plans to invest a further £1.3bn in the UK’s five generating nuclear power stations over the 2024-26 period to help sustain output at current levels, boost energy security and cut carbon emissions.

Subject to regulatory approval, EDF’s plans would see its advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) at the Torness, Heysham 1 and 2, and Hartlepool plants maintain output at current levels for “as long as possible”. The company, which retains its significant nuclear technical skills base in Gloucester, is also examining the potential for its Sizewell B plant to run for 20 years longer than scheduled.

EDF’s plans to invest a further £1.3billion in the UK’s five generating nuclear power stations over the 2024-26 period will help sustain output at current levels, boost energy security and cut carbon emissions. The more positive fleet outlook and significant new build programme means EDF plans to hire over 1,000 people in 2024 across its various UK nuclear businesses.

The future investment plan for the operating fleet comes 15 years after EDF acquires British Energy PLC, a period in which £7.5billion (equivalent to £270 per household) has already been invested in the UK’s eight nuclear power stations, alongside significant investment into the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C projects. Three of those eight stations are now in the defueling phase, the first decommissioning stage.

Without EDF’s investment and expertise, Sizewell B power station would be the only operational nuclear power station in the UK today, and nuclear power would provide just 3% of the UK’s power consumption rather than the 13% it does account for. This would have meant more reliance on gas, higher energy prices for customers and more carbon in the atmosphere.