Originally scheduled to close in 2010, the Anglesey plant has been granted a number of lifetime extensions after demonstrating to the regulators that it can continue to meet a stringent set of safety requirements.
Wylfa’s twin reactors, which began operating in 1970, once supplied enough electricity for almost half of Wales. Reactor 2 stopped generating last year while Reactor 1 has continued to operate, using partially used fuel transferred from the shut-down reactor.
The extension will deliver additional income to the taxpayer of up to £785 million since the station’s original scheduled closure date in 2010.
Magnox submitted a Periodic Safety Review (PSR) to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in September 2013. The PSR, which is required every 10 years, includes a review of the safe operation of the site for the next 10 years and encompasses periods of power generation, defueling and initial decommissioning.
Stuart Law, Wylfa Site Director, said:
“We are pleased that Wylfa’s extended generation will allow us to maximise income from generation for the site’s owner, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), and the UK taxpayer, and also provide another 15 months of opportunities and continued development for staff. A lot of people contributed and worked hard on the PSR and this result is a real credit to them.
“This will be Wylfa’s final period of generation. After December 2015, we will follow in the footsteps of other Magnox sites and begin to defuel the reactor which will take up to three years.”
Dr Brian Burnett, NDA Head of Programmes, said:
“I welcome the ONR’s decision. Wylfa is an important asset and this announcement is good news for the UK’s energy supply, for the NDA and for the people of Anglesey. I thank everyone whose efforts have contributed to this successful outcome.”