Lifetime of Scotland's nuclear plants could be extended, says EDF

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 17 October 2016 in News

EDF’s Scottish Business Director suggests that depending on assessments of how the plants age, their life span could be extended

Nuclear power plant - Fotolia

It may be possible to extend the operation of Scotland’s nuclear plants past their current projected lifespans, according to their operator.

Scotland has two nuclear power stations, both run by French state-owned energy company EDF – Torness, based in East Lothian, and Hunterston, in North Ayreshire. Hunterston began operating in 1976 and is due to go offline in 2023, while Torness went online in 1988, and is due to close in 2030.

But Paul Winkle, EDF’s Scottish Business Director, has suggested that depending on assessments of how the plants age, their life span could be extended.


RELATED CONTENT

Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox have embarrassed the UK, says John Swinney

Scottish Government backs new third runway at Heathrow

Scotland could produce 50 per cent of energy needs from renewables by 2030, finds report


Speaking at an EDF fringe at the SNP conference, Winkle said: “The current life for Hunterston is 2023 and Torness is 2030, and that is based on our assessment of ageing mechanisms in those plants and being absolutely sure that when they are shut down they are still safe to operate.

“But to go beyond that we will do assessments and it may be possible to make some small further extensions, but we will not operate them beyond when we are confident they are safe to operate. Our current estimate is, with Hunterston, we get to a point where, if we go beyond 2023 there will be uncertainty. We will do more analysis in due course. Those dates are based on our best judgement.”

Torness has originally been expected to close in 2023, but had its lifetime extended by seven years back in February. Hunterston had expected to close in 2011, but had its lifetime extended until 2017. Then in 2012 EDF gave approval for operation to continue until 2023.

As well as running two plants in Scotland, EDF is also behind plans for the controversial Hinkely Point nuclear station, which was given the go-ahead by Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this month.

Winkle added: “Hunterston will be closed in about ten years’ time, and Torness will be close in about 15 years’ time, and they are producing a large proportion of Scotland’ electricity. When they go, will we have secure, affordable, reliable power?

“In order for us to have that ability to switch the lights on any time we want to, we need three things. We want it to be low carbon, because we need to avoid climate change. We want it to be affordable, and we want it to be reliable. And that question, what happens when the wind isn’t blowing, there are other technologies that we need to consider to ensure that security of supply.

“So I am not going to tell you what the answer is, but clearly, over time existing power stations will be closing and we need to get into a debate about how we ensure that safe, secure, reliable supply of electricity.”

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Environmental groups urge Theresa May to convince Donald Trump to back Paris climate deal
8 May 2017

Coalition of environmental campaigners write to Theresa May, urging her to stop the US president from pulling out of landmark deal

Construction of world's largest floating windfarm to bring 200 jobs to highlands
21 April 2017

Kishorn Dry Dock in the north west highlands will be used for Kincardine Offshore’s development of eight turbines off the coast of Aberdeen

Opposition parties condemn sale of Green Investment Bank
21 April 2017

But GIB chair Lord Smith of Kelvin backed the sale following commitments to uphold GIB's green investment principles and report transparently on its green impact

Share this page