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EDF To Extend Life of UK Nuclear Power Plants

EDF will invest $1.65 billion (£1.3 billion) to extend the life of its nuclear power generating stations in the UK as it aims to keep UK nuclear output at current levels until at least 2026, the company said on Tuesday.

EDF plans to invest the sum announced today in the UK’s five generating nuclear power stations over the 2024-26 period. The investment will help sustain nuclear power output at current levels, boosting energy security and reducing carbon emissions, EDF said.   

The company plans to to extend generating lifetimes at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 power stations, with a combined 2.2 GW capacity, by a further two years, to a current forecast of March 2026. Heysham 2 and Torness power stations, of combined capacity of 2.4 GW, are currently due to generate until March 2028.

“These lifetimes will be reviewed again by the end of 2024 and the ambition is to generate beyond these current forecasts, subject to plant inspections and regulatory approvals,” EDF said.

The UK, France, Sweden, and Switzerland are some of the European countries that are betting on domestic nuclear power generation and extension of power plant lifetimes as a way to boost energy security and reduce carbon emissions.

The UK is also backing small modular reactor (SMR) technology and it has doubled down on nuclear power generation as part of its ambition to cut emissions and reach net-zero by 2050.

But the UK is not giving up on conventional nuclear reactors and remains committed to the mega projects of Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

In 2022, the UK decided to revitalize its nuclear energy industry to secure more zero-emission power generated in the country. Under the British Energy Security Strategy, the UK has an ambition to deploy up to 24 GW of nuclear power by 2050, around 25% of the projected 2050 electricity demand in the country.   

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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