The site’s new Visitor Centre is also beginning to take shape, and is due to open in November.
Simon Parsons, station director, said; “This is an important milestone for everyone at the station, and one they should be very proud of.
“Since 1983 the site has generated more than 150 terawatt hours of electricity. The site produces enough low carbon electricity to power around two million homes every minute of every day.”
And as the site produces low carbon electricity, its 150 terawatt hours has avoided around 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to removing all the vehicles from the entire UK’s roads for around two years.
Around 700 people are employed at the site, 550 EDF Energy employees and about 150 full-time contract staff. Many of the site’s team have been at Hartlepool for most of their working careers, some reaching 40 years’ service.
But the site has a strong and well respected apprentice recruitment programme. Each year the site takes on around seven apprentices all drawn from local schools.
Simon said: “Our apprentices spend their first two years at HMS Sultan before returning to site full time, after their first two years. Seeing them in their summer break from HMS Sultan or when they return full time adds a whole new dimension to the site.
“It is vital that we encourage young people to see our industry as the one to join, and to that end we are also working with Hartlepool Sixth Form college to mentor some of their students through A’ levels on to university and then hopefully back to us.”
The new Visitor Centre will be the final one of seven to be opened by EDF Energy across England and Scotland and is part of the company’s commitment to increasing openness.
Andy Spurr, Managing Director Nuclear Generation, said: “EDF Energy enjoys strong support from the community around Hartlepool and we are committed to being as open as possible here in Teesside and at all our nuclear power stations in the UK.”
Simon said: “We hope the Hartlepool Visitor Centre will inspire young people about science, technology and engineering.
“The Visitor Centre will allow us to introduce people to our operation in a safe, informative and attractive environment and we expect many thousands of visitors through the doors.”
Hartlepool power station has an operating life until 2019, but the aim is to see the site gain a further life extension, maybe up to five years.
A decision on this life extension will be made by EDF Energy by 2016 and will depend on technical and economic factors but, ultimately, is a commercial decision for the business to make.
Simon said: “It is exciting to think that with the correct planning and investment that we can take this plant into the mid 2020s, as that means continued employment for this area.
“But first I think we should enjoy our 30th birthday, and reflect on what we have already achieved since 1983.”