Wylfa, on Anglesey, which is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, was scheduled to close at the end of this year, but now has the opportunity to continue producing electricity for a further period – likely to be around two years – following a period of review with the site’s regulators.
The site is operated by Magnox North, which has been undertaking work to support the period of extended generation over the last year, including an evaluation of the Periodic Safety Review – required every 10 years by the Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate, the regulator of safety and security in the nuclear industry, to validate the safe and compliant operation of the site. The Environment Agency, which regulates other aspects of the site’s work, had also been involved in this programme of work.
January 2011 will see Wylfa’s 40th anniversary as a generating power station. Wylfa has the world’s largest Magnox reactors and has generated 682 TWhrs in its operational life to date.
The additional revenue from the power station, expected to be in excess of a hundred million pounds, will be used to help fund the NDA’s decommissioning mission.
Extended generation will be subject to the site continuing to meet rigorous operational and safety standards.
Dr Sara Johnston, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Programme Director for Magnox, said:
“Wylfa’s continued generation is excellent news as it will deliver significant extra revenue from one of the NDA’s valuable assets. The income generated over the extension period will support our clean-up mission. I would like to thank Magnox North for the tremendous work they have done to help make this happen.”
Nick Gore, Wylfa Site Director, said:
“I’m absolutely delighted with the news – it is a reflection of the hard work put in by our experienced staff in satisfying the requirements of the Periodic Safety Review and very ably supported by our record of excellence in safety, operations and maintenance. This is all down to the quality of our staff on site and with our plant and equipment in excellent condition; we can look forward to the future in confidence.”
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy said:
“I applaud the work done by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and by Magnox North’s management and staff at Wylfa which has enabled the power station to continue generating low-carbon electricity. Extending generation for a further two years is very welcome news. The additional income it generates will make a significant contribution to meeting the costs of decommissioning other legacy sites, reducing the bill for the taxpayer.”
Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan added:
“This is good news for Anglesey and North Wales. Wylfa plays a vital role in the local economy and today’s announcement will be a great boost for its workforce. The decision to continue generating low carbon electricity at the site will also make a huge contribution to the NDA’s decommissioning mission. I am very supportive of Wylfa and always have been. When I recently visited the site I was hugely impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff and their plans for the future.”