Since 2008 we have added an average of over eight years to the expected closure date of our Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) fleet; without these extensions, four stations (eight reactors) would have closed, depriving the UK of much needed low carbon electricity.
Lifetime extension is a formal rigorous decision-making process that considers the following questions:
- Can we do it? Is it technically possible?
- Should we do it? Will the benefits outweigh the investment?
- Is it acceptable to do it? What are the environmental and UK economic benefits?
The lifetime challenges for AGR plant centre on irreplaceable components such as the graphite core and boilers - that are subject to an operating environment of high temperatures, pressures and radiation. Our extensive research and development programme inform our decisions relating to the lifetime of the plants, by improving understanding and reducing uncertainty in potentially life-limiting systems.
Our confidence to justify safe and reliable operations over extended life comes from a strong and deep understanding of these systems.