EDF Energy has extended the expected lifespans of five of its eight nuclear power stations, and is working to do the same for the rest, wherever it’s safe and economically viable to do so. Based on the expected volume of generation output from these nuclear power stations during the extended period, the volume of carbon dixoide emitted compared to burning fossil fuels instead is up to 40m tonnes less (based on our assessment of the amount of carbon dioxide emissions avoided through the electricity generated by EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations in 2014 rather than from conventional fossil fuel generation).
It will also help keep the lights on while the UK replaces old fossil fuel power stations with renewable and other low-carbon alternatives.
Lighting the way to a low-carbon UK
Many of the UK’s power plants are due to close during the next decade. The UK has promised to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. EDF Energy has published plans to build new nuclear power stations in the mid-2020s and beyond.
Through careful investment and a focus on reliability, our nuclear power stations have delivered better performance with improved generation output.
Ten more years for Dungeness B
We’re aiming to extend the lives of:
- Our seven advanced gas-cooler reactors (AGRs) by an average of eight years each
- Our one pressurised water reactor (PWR) at Sizewell B by 20 years.
Dungeness B, one of our AGRs, is our latest success. It was scheduled to operate until 2018. But in January 2015, after a two-year project, we announced that Dungeness B has secured a life extension until 2028.
That’s 10 extra years generating enough low-carbon, reliable, affordable energy to power up to 1.4 million UK homes*. If Dungeness B closed down on schedule and that energy were generated using fossil fuels instead, up to 14.4 million tonnes more carbon dioxide may have been released over those 10 years.
In February 2014 we started to assess the remaining Plant Life Extensions of our AGR Fleet. This assessment is expected to conclude soon.
Toward the next generation
Cutting carbon emissions isn’t the only benefit of keeping nuclear power stations running longer, there are important UK and local economic benefits including the provision of many highly skilled jobs.
For example, Dungeness B employs about 500 people directly and can also help to create further opportunities through the wider supply chain. Our apprenticeships and graduate scheme are training the next generation of the power industry.
We currently invest up to £600 million in our nuclear power stations each year. And the longer they stay open, the longer that investment can keep providing these job opportunities.
*Figure based on our assessment of additional output as a result of plant life extension (TWh) and the average domestic energy use per household in the UK. Figure also assumes that the annual electricity use per household in the UK does not change significantly between now and 2030.