EDF has decided to close down Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent after judging the reactor to be beyond reasonable repair.
The power station, which has been in a state of extended outage since September 2018, will move into the defuelling phase with immediate effect.
EDF said that it has been managing a range of unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges that are not found at its other six AGR power stations, leading to the decision to close down the site.
New detailed analysis has identified additional station-specific risks within some key components, including parts within the fuel assemblies.
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.
Dungeness B station director John Benn said: “This power station has been a cornerstone of life in Kent for decades. It is a very special place and the team has a real sense of family – we are part of the community.
“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.
“I’m enormously proud of everything the team at Dungeness has achieved. Our low-carbon electricity has helped Britain over the past four decades and we have provided this part of Kent with vital jobs for generations.
“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.”
Since it came online in 1983, Dungeness B has generated enough energy to meet the needs of every home in Kent for more than 50 years. According to EDF the station has also helped the UK avoid the emission of almost 50m tonnes of carbon dioxide and contributed more than £1bn into the Kent economy.
Construction began at Dungeness B in 1967. It was to be the first of a new wave of UK nuclear power stations and has a design not copied anywhere else in the UK fleet. The plant connected to the electricity grid in 1983.
The original design life was 2008 and this was extended following investment in the plant at that time and subsequently. In 2016 Dungeness had its best ever year, generating enough energy to meet the needs of some 2M homes.
Department of Civil Engineering Kent nuclear power station to shut after being deemed ‘beyond repair’ | New Civil Engineer