EDF has been given approval to restart reactor 3 at the 44 year-old Hunterston B power station this weekend.
The firm also hopes to restart reactor 4 next month, subject to approval. Defuelling of the power station will commence no later than 7 January 2022 – if it passes a further inspection in spring 2021. Defuelling will take years to complete.
EDF gained permission in 2012 to extend Hunterston’s generating life out to March 2023, but the plant has been offline after cracks were found in the graphite core.
Only one of EDF’s eight nuclear power stations, Heysham 2, is currently running at nominal full load. Also offline for graphite core inspections is Hinkley Point B. EDF hopes to return its reactors to service in November and December. Sizewell B is running at half capacity until late September after National Grid ESO extended a deal to help manage low summer and post-Covid demand. Separately the ESO is paying EDF to reduce output from reactor 1 at Torness by around 200MW to address a local constraint.
EDF CEO Simon de Rossi used Hunterston’s early closure to call for “urgent” investment new nuclear power “to help Britain achieve net zero and secure the future for its nuclear industry, supply chain and workers.”