Nuclear energy should be expanded in UK claims expert
The French energy group admitted the two power plants will shut down earlier than expected due to safety concerns. This would add a devastating blow the Government’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Plants in Torness in Scotland and Heysham 2 in North West England are likely to be closed in 2030.
A spokesperson for the group for the UK said: “There is a risk for the deadline of 2030 but nothing has changed so far.”
But Richard Bradfield, chief technical officer at EDF, warned it could “happen sooner” because of breaches in the reactors.
EDF energy added how both units of the plant had been in an “extended outage” in which they have been “managing a range of unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges not found”.
EDF energy risks closing nuclear plants in UK
Torness nuclear plant in Scotland
Although many have “been overcome, new detailed analysis has further highlighted additional station-specific risks within some key components, including parts within the fuel assemblies”.
Mr Bradfield expected more breaches to appear quickly in two other older plants in the country, including Heysham 1 and Hartlepool.
Both these plants are scheduled to close in 2024.
Last week, EDF announced it would shut down its nuclear plant from Dungeness B, in the south of England.
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Heysham 2 plant in North West England
The plant has been closed since 2018 due to technical issues.
According to the Times, these problems show the “failing health of the British nuclear fleet” and “raise questions about Britain’s ability to decarbonise its electricity supply”.
EDF Energy has already announced plans to close its 990-MW Hunterston B plant in western Scotland.
As well EDF’s 940-MW Hinkley Point B plant in western England will also be closed more than one year early due to graphite cracking issues.
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The French company had repeatedly said it intended to operate the Dungeness B plant until at least 2028 and potentially longer.
EDF said in the statement when construction began at Dungeness B in 1967, the plant was “to be the first of a new wave of UK nuclear power stations and has a design not copied anywhere else in the UK fleet”.
John Benn, the station director, said in the statement that “EDF has had to make a hard decision – but it is the right one. It gives our teams, our community and our business a clear understanding of the future”.
The Government pledged to be carbon-free by 2050 as the threat of climate change continues to grow around the world.
Business Secretary Alon Sharma
In December, Mr Johnson announced a new ambitious target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68 percent by 2030.
He said at the time: “We have proven we can reduce our emissions and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process – uniting businesses, academics, NGOs and local communities in a common goal to go further and faster to tackle climate change.
“Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy, with our Ten Point Plan helping us on our path to reach it.
“But this is a global effort, which is why the UK is urging world leaders as part of next week’s Climate Ambition Summit to bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net-zero targets.”
EDF could close nuclear plants
Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma added: “Tackling climate change is the one of the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetimes, demanding bold action from every nation to prevent catastrophic global warming.
“As a country, we have demonstrated we can both rapidly cut carbon emissions while creating new jobs, new technologies and future-proof industries that will generate economic growth for decades to come.
“The UK’s new emissions target is among the highest in the world and reflects the urgency and scale of the challenge our planet faces.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega