The end of an era as Hinkley Point B is switched off

Hinkley FI

Having generated zero-carbon energy for more than 46 years, the era of EDF‘s Hinkley Point B has now ended with the switching off of its second reactor.

When it was first synchronised to the UK grid in February of 1976, ABBA’s Mama Mia was topping the charts. It has since generated 311 Terrawatt hours of electricity, enough to power every home in the South West for 33 years.

Mike Davies, Station Director of Hinkley Point B, said: “This is a day of mixed emotions for all of us. We are justifiably proud of everything this station and its workforce have given to Somerset, and indeed the country, over decades of operations. The huge amount of electricity we’ve produced could have met the needs of every home in the South West for 33 years.

“There is much to be proud of. This tiny corner of Somerset has produced huge amounts of zero-carbon electricity, supported and enriched our community and helped sustain the South West nuclear sector by providing thousands well-paid, high skilled jobs to our community.

“Now our attention turns to the job of defueling the power station.“

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Hinley Point B main control room
Hinley Point B’s main control room when it first became operational

Before defueling can begin, teams will perform major maintenance and improvement projects across the plant in preparation of the next phase of its life. The defueling process itself is expected to last three to four years, and will see the removal of the remaining nuclear fuel from the reactors to be transported to Sellafield.

The station will then be handed over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to end its lifecycle.

Mike added: “When a power station is generating it looks, sounds and smells a certain way. It’s a familiar experience that most people who work here, or who are familiar with our site know and, to some degree, love.

“But all that changed today as our turbines slowed and stopped for the final time. Of course we’ve had that experience when we’ve been on outages – but we’ve always known they’d be back on again and we’d be generating.

“Now we have a new job and a huge amount of interesting work to do. I’m excited for Somerset that Hinkley Point C is taking shape on our horizon but I also know that thanks to this station, and everything it’s achieved, our colleagues have got very big boots to fill.”

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