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Hunterston B reactor back online for final run

By EDF | Posted June 10, 2021

The second of Hunterston B’s reactors is back online for its final run before more than 45 years of low carbon generation at the North Ayrshire site ends.

Reactor 4 started generating on 5 June following the station’s last ever graphite inspections. In April, the independent regulator, the ONR, gave permission for the unit to be switched back on if inspection results were as expected. Reactor 3 returned to service on 23 April.

During the station’s final graphite outage 45 fuel channels were inspected using state of the art equipment which gives a detailed picture of the inside of the reactor. The results were well within the expectations set out before the inspections started which cleared the way for return to service.

The reactor will operate for approximately six months and the station will stop generating by 7 January 2022 at the latest.

Station Director, Paul Forrest, said: “The restart of Reactor 4 is another important milestone in the life of the Hunterston B power station.

“The site has made an incredible contribution to the local area, and to Scotland as a whole, through the jobs it has supported and the power it has produced since it started generating in 1976.

“Now, I am looking forward to a safe and successful final period of generation for the station before we move into the defuelling stage of its life.”

Defuelling involves taking all of the fuel out of the station’s two reactors and sending it to Sellafield for long-term storage. The operation will take around three years and will continue to draw on the skills of EDF’s specialist staff and contractors.

Since Hunterston B came online, it has generated enough low carbon electricity to power all of Scotland’s homes for 31 years and has avoided more than 100m tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere. That is like taking every car off Scotland’s roads for 19 years. It has been an integral part of the North Ayrshire community supporting the employment of thousands of people.

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