23 Jun 21

EDF welcomes the completion of the agreement with Government for the AGR defueling and decommissioning programme

EDF CEO, Simone Rossi said: “We are committed to delivering value to the taxpayer via the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF) and the revised arrangements provide the certainty we need to plan and deliver safe and cost-effective defueling. The arrangements also provide our employees and supply chain partners important clarity over jobs for the coming years.

 We look forward to building on our collaborative partnership with the NDA to ensure successful defueling with Sellafield and a seamless transfer of the AGR stations to Magnox.”

Read the Ministerial statement.

Notes to editors

  • By 2030, all seven of EDF’s AGR nuclear power stations will be at various stages of decommissioning and EDF’s generating capability will consist of Sizewell B, HPC, potentially Sizewell C and renewables, including solar, onshore and offshore wind.
  • EDF’s unique knowledge and more than 45 years’ experience in operating the AGRs places the company as the best choice to defuel the reactors.
  • Defueling is very similar to refuelling except new fuel is not put back. The used fuel is taken out of the reactor and into a storage pond on site to cool. It is packaged into a spent fuel flask and transported by rail to Sellafield where it is cooled further and then processed to improve the storage volume, before being safely ‘interim’ stored in a cooling pond for up to 70 years. Ultimately, it will go to the UK’s new geological disposal facility when that is ready.
  • See the process in this short animation.
  • Defueling will be carried out by EDF on behalf of UK Government under the Nuclear Liabilities Funding Agreement (NLFA), with EDF recovering qualifying costs.
  • We are aiming to take between 3.5 to 5 years to complete defueling at each site although Dungeness B will take longer to defuel than the other six AGR stations due to its unique design and requirement for extra preparation time.
  • By 2030, EDF expects all of the seven AGR stations to have stopped generating.
  • Hunterston B will start defueling first - by January 2022 – followed by Hinkley Point B from mid-2022. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool are both due to begin defueling from March 2024 and the current expectation is that Torness and Heysham 2 will begin defueling by 2030.
  • EDF announced on 7 June 2021 that Dungeness B would move into defueling with immediate effect and in a best case, anticipates being able to carry out some low rate defuelling in the second half of 2022.

About EDF

EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission electric future and tackling climate change. We are Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity – from our eight nuclear power stations and more than thirty wind farms – meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand. In addition to being one of the largest suppliers to British homes and businesses, we’re a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping our customers become more energy efficient and independent. We continue to invest in the UK’s low carbon energy infrastructure, constructing the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C, leading the development of plans for Sizewell C in Suffolk, and construction, planning and development across a range of technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage.

EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK we employ around 11,000 people.