Tuesday, 11 December 2007

An extra five years for Hinkley B while wait goes on for Hinkley C

HINKLEY Point B nuclear power station is to be given an extra five years’ of life with part of a £90 million investment by owners British Energy.
The news comes hard on the heels of the company’s announcement that the site had been earmarked for a new build Hinkley C station.
The twin advanced gas-cooled reactors in the B station were due to be decommissioned in 2011, but now they will continue generating electricity at least until 2016.
Hinkley B is currently running at reduced capacity due to boiler repairs following a closure earlier this year.
British Energy said it had completed the necessary technical and economic evaluation for the station, one of West Somerset’s largest employers, to continue operating beyond 2011.
Station director Nigel Cann said: “This is great news for all of us at Hinkley Point B and for everybody in the local Somerset community.
“The decision means we can continue to provide highly skilled jobs and bring major investment to the area.
“It also shows that British Energy recognises the professionalism and commitment of our staff in safely supplying low carbon electricity for more than 30 years.”
The station employs around 535 full-time staff, as well as 150 full-time staff from contract partners, and puts an estimated £30 million a year into the local economy.
Hinkley B has produced some 215 terrawatt hours (TWh) of generation since first supplying the National Grid in 1976.
During its working life so far, the station has saved around 140 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
To achieve the same annual carbon-avoided benefit would require the entire population of Bristol to reduce their carbon emissions to zero.
Hinkley trades union representative Tom Armstrong said staff were delighted with the news.
Mr Armstrong said: “This life extension is a major bonus for the station.
“It is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by everybody involved, both on and off site, to secure a further five years of safe, reliable generation - an achievement of which we are all very proud.”
British Energy chief executive Bill Coley said the extension of Hinkley B’s operating lifespan would help combat global warming by supporting the UK’s climate change goals for the reduction of CO2 emissions.
The Government is expected to announce next month if it will give the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear reactors to be built in Britain.
  • Our photograph shows Hinkley Point B (right) with the neighbouring Hinkley Point A station which is currently being decommissioned. Photo submitted.

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