EDF confirms plans to keep turbines turning at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool power stations
- Heysham 1 and Hartlepool are forecast to generate zero-carbon electricity for 2 years longer, supporting energy security, reducing demand for imported gas and lowering carbon emissions
- EDF has already invested over £7billion in the UK nuclear fleet since 2009 to extend the generating lifetimes of the existing fleet, delivering over 30% more output than originally forecast
- Keeping the existing stations generating longer also helps preserve vital nuclear skills as the UK aims to rebuild its civil nuclear capacity
Two nuclear power stations in the North of England are expected to keep generating zero-carbon electricity for longer, helping deliver more energy security for the UK.
Heysham 1, in Lancashire, and Hartlepool, in Teesside both mark 40 years of generation this year. In 2009, when EDF took responsibility for the fleet, they were due to end generation in 2014. EDF invested significant resources to enable the forecast to move to 2024. This has now been moved out by a further 2 years to March 2026.
The decision has been made after a rigorous review by EDF of the technical and commercial cases for life extension.
In particular, positive inspections of the graphite reactor cores during 2022 have increased confidence that the stations can generate for longer and continue to meet stringent regulatory standards.
Matt Sykes, Managing Director of EDF’s Generation business said: “Supplying zero-carbon and affordable electricity, whatever the weather, has never been more important than right now. Our ongoing investment and careful stewardship of the UK nuclear fleet since 2009 has allowed us to make today’s decision and helps support the UK’s energy security at this challenging time.
“As well as helping the UK reduce its use of imported gas, it is also great news for the 2,000 skilled people whose jobs are supported by these sites and will help preserve valuable technical and operational skills that will be critical as the UK seeks to re-build its nuclear capability.”
The additional 29TWh of electricity these stations could generate over that 2-year period could help to displace 6billion cubic metres of gas. The carbon avoided from this displacement is 10million tonnes, like taking 5m cars off the UK’s roads for a year.
Since taking responsibility for the existing UK nuclear fleet in 2009 EDF has invested more than £7billion to support extended operating lifetimes and help UK energy security. Output from the fleet has been more than 30% above what was expected when EDF took on the fleet. Over the next five years (2023-27), the aim is to invest more than £1.5billion to sustain safe and reliable generation, alongside preparing for and delivering defueling.
Notes to editors
- This latest lifetime extension is now EDF’s most likely view and the market has been notified accordingly. It has been made on a plus 1, minus 1 basis, meaning there is an ambition to continue generation for a further 12 months past the March 2026 date but that there is still a risk that the new date set today may not be achieved.
- These dates are forecasts, and the precise dates will be determined by the results of regular graphite inspections and how those results are interpreted within EDF and by the independent regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
- End of generation dates are kept under regular review and revised based on the best information available at the time.
- Two previous reviews have already seen these sites have their generating lives extended by 10 years. At the time of acquisition, in 2009, the stations were due to stop generating in 2014. In 2010, this was extended by 5 years to March 2019. In 2016, this was extended by a further 5 years to March 2024.
- Decisions on end of generation dates for EDF’s nuclear power stations in the UK are independent of the regulator or government and are taken by EDF’s licensee board following recommendations from EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited’s Executive. They are then endorsed by relevant senior Boards and, if needed, shareholders.
- The decision on the change of end of generation date for Heysham 1 and Hartlepool was taken following a series of EDF executive, board and shareholder meetings on 9 March 2023.
- The estimated end of generation dates for Torness and Heysham 2 remain unchanged at March 2028.
- Find out more about Heysham 1 power station
- Find out more about Hartlepool power station
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EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission, electric future and tackling climate change. It is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity(1) and supplies millions of customers with electricity and gas.
It generates low carbon electricity from five nuclear power stations and more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms.
EDF is leading the UK's nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, and there are advanced plans for a replica at Sizewell C in Suffolk. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will provide low carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand and power around 12 million homes.
EDF is one of the UK’s largest investors in renewables, with more than 1GW of renewable generation in operation and over 5GW in construction, planning and development across a range of technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage. We are constructing our largest offshore wind farm in Britain – the 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe project in Scotland.
EDF is helping its customers, both in business and at home, take their first steps to sustainably powering their lives. Whether it is buying an electric car, generating and storing electricity, selling energy back to the grid or installing a heat pump. EDF is one of the largest suppliers to British business and a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping businesses become more energy independent. In addition, the company’s energy services business, Dalkia, is one of the largest technical service providers in the UK and Ireland.
EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK, the company employs around 14,000 people at locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.