EDF Energy is planning to extend the operating life of Dungeness B by 10 years to 2028, subject to obtaining required authorizations, according to EDF Group's 2013 annual report.
NEI magazine understands that preparations for life extension have been going on for several years at Dungeness B. A spokeswoman said that work on life extension is progressing well, but that the final decision will not be taken until the end of the year.
The two-reactor plant at Dungeness, each 538 MWe (net) nominal full load, were the first advanced gas-cooled reactors to start construction, but among the last to be finished, owing to problems during construction. As a result, the station has generated the least amount of energy of all seven stations, estimated as 108 TWh a year ago.
In December 2013, Vincent de Rivaz, opening an emergency response centre at Sizewell B, first hinted that the life extension was coming. He said: "A life extension would mean that Dungeness B could continue to operate safely and help to keep the lights on until a new generation of nuclear power stations is built in Britain."
The EDF Group annual report underlines the message of continuity: "Based on expected life extensions, all seven AGR stations and the Sizewell B PWR9 station will be operating in 2023 when Hinkley Point C is due to be commissioned if a final investment decision is taken in 2014."
In 2012, EDF Energy announced that it would extend AGRs by an average of seven years (and an extra 20 for Sizewell B), and then announced that it would extend the life of the Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B stations to 2023. The new plans increase the average life extension to eight years. According to this formula, Hartlepool and Heysham A stations, both due to shut in 2019, would be likely to continue to operate until 2026 or so.
Photo: Dungeness B Power Station on shingle reserve, Kent coastline (Credit: EDF Energy)