Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent has closed and EDF said it has decided to move into the defuelling phase with immediate effect.
The station has been in an extended outage since September 2018. EDF said it has been managing “a range of unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges that are not found at the other six AGR power stations”. Now “New detailed analysis has further highlighted additional station-specific risks within some key components, including parts within the fuel assemblies”.
The plant first came on line in 1983 and EDF said the final generation of electricity in 2018 means the plant ran for 10 years longer than its original design life, and in line with expectations when it was acquired by EDF in 2009.
John Benn, Dungeness B Station Director said: “EDF has had to make a hard decision – but it is the right one. It gives our teams, our community and our business a clear understanding of the future.
… “This marks the beginning of the next chapter in this station’s story. We will now plan the defuelling operations, a job we expect will take several years, and one that provides ongoing opportunities for our staff and their specialist skills.”
Reacting to the news Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said, “Despite its difficulties, the plant has been of one of the ten most productive low-carbon assets in UK history. Only other nuclear power stations have done better.”
He added, “Its retirement underscores the urgency of investing in new nuclear capacity to hit net zero: in less than three years, more than half of our nuclear fleet will be gone. If this base of firm power is not replaced, we will have to rely on gas to stabilise the grid. This fossil fuel dependence will cause higher emissions and higher prices and push our climate goals further from our grasp. Instead, we can choose to invest in nuclear power alongside renewables to secure a green recovery and a net zero future for the UK.”