Hinkley Point B charge hall with people. Photo courtesy EDF Energy

French-based global power developer EDF Energy vowed to put all seven of its advanced gas-cooled reactor nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom into the defueling and decommissioning stages within the next decade.

The company’s agreement with the UK government calls for shutting down the AGR stations by 2030. At that point EDF’s generating capacity will consist of Sizewell B, HPC, potentially Sizewell C (currently under construction) and renewables including solar, onshore and offshore wind.

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EDF CEO, Simone Rossi said: “We are committed to delivering value to the taxpayer via the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF) and the revised arrangements provide the certainty we need to plan and deliver safe and cost-effective defueling. The arrangements also provide our employees and supply chain partners important clarity over jobs for the coming years.”

EDF said it’s 45-year experience in operating AGR technology makes it the best candidate to defuel the reactors. The spent fuel is packaged into a spent fuel flask and transported by rail to Sellafield where it is cooled further and then processed to improve the storage volume, before being safely ‘interim’ stored in a cooling pond for up to 70 years.

Ultimately, it will go to the UK’s new geological disposal facility when that is ready.

By 2030, EDF expects all of the AGR stations to have stopped generating. Hunterston B will start defueling first by January 2022, followed by Hinkley Point B by midway through next year.

The Hartlepool nuclear station should begin defueling by March 2024, with Torness and Heysham 2 joining that stage later in the decade.

EDF shut down and began defueling on Dungeness B this month. The work will continue through 2022.

Originally published by Rod Walton on power-eng.com