SCOTLAND’S HUNTERSTON B NPP SHUT DOWN AFTER 46 YEAR OF OPERATION
Electricity generation at one of the UK’s most productive nuclear power stations, Hunterston B, in North Ayrshire, is ended after almost 46 years.
Since the station came online in 1976 it has produced enough zero-carbon electricity to power every home in Scotland for nearly 31 years. The carbon avoided by the station, when compared to gas generation, is like taking every car off Scotland’s roads for 19 years.
Reactor 4 at the EDF-run site was shut down by Station Director, Paul Forrest, at midday on 7 January 2022; 45 years, and 11 months after the station started producing electricity.
Station Director, Paul Forrest, said: “The contribution Hunterston B power station has made to this country cannot be underestimated. As well as providing stable, well paid employment for thousands of people in the North Ayrshire area, it has produced almost 300TWh of zero-carbon electricity, enough to power every home in Scotland for 31 years.
It was originally thought Hunterston B would run for 25 years but investment in the plant and the people who work here mean we’ve been able to safely extend that to 46 years.”
The station’s other unit, Reactor 3, was taken off line in November 2021. Its shutdown was carried out by the station’s experienced operations staff along with Howard Weetman who worked at the station for 23 years and was the control room supervisor on the day the power station first synchronised to the grid.
Both reactors will now undergo a statutory outage to make sure they are ready for defueling. Defueling is when all the nuclear fuel is removed from the reactors and safely transported by rail to Sellafield for storage. It is expected that defueling at Hunterston B will take around three years.
Under the terms of a contract agreed with UK Government in June 2021, EDF will carry out defueling at all seven of the UK’s Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) stations before the sites are transferred to the NDA for its subsidiary Magnox to continue with decommissioning.
About Hunterston B:
• Hunterston B was built by the Nuclear Power Group Ltd, assisted by nine sub-contracting companies. Construction started in 1967 with a final construction cost of £143m.
• Reactor 3 came online for the first time on 6 Feb 1976.
• The station had four times the generating capacity of the neighbouring Magnox station, Hunterston A, and consisted of two Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs) (Reactors 3&4) and two turbine sets (Turbine Generators 7&8). Reactors 1&2 and Turbine Generators 1-6 were housed at Hunterston A.
• First Station Director: Derek Evans.
• The station was officially opened in 1980 by Scottish industrialist, Sir Montague Finnieston.
Over its generating life the station has produced 297.4TWh of zero-carbon electricity (second only to Hinkley Point B).
Scotland has two nuclear stations currently generating electricity, three civil nuclear sites at advanced stages of decommissioning, and three nuclear defence sites.
(Source: Scottish Gov/EDF – Image: Hunterston NPP/EDF)
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