Office for Nuclear Regulation

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EDF Energy decision on ‘lifetime extension’ – ONR position statement

4 December, 2012

EDF Energy today announced it wants to operate its nuclear power stations Hinkley Point B in Somerset and Hunterston B in North Ayrshire until 2023.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is in the process of examining EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd (NGL) ’Lifetime Management Programme’ for the extension of the operational lifetime of its existing fleet of nuclear power reactors.

Our work has included reviews of the plants to establish where improvements could be made in monitoring plant and material performance and identifying where further work is necessary on the impact of ageing.

As a part of ONR’s intervention on lifetime management, we reviewed NGL’s proposals for Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B and are broadly content with NGL’s proposals.

ONR will continue to regulate further operation by the normal arrangements made under the nuclear site licence.

ONR is content for the plants to continue to operate subject to:  satisfactory Periodic Safety Reviews (PSRs) being carried out (the next PSR for Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B is due to be submitted to ONR in 2015); and the results from routine maintenance, inspection and testing continue to support the agreed plant safety case.

Following each triennial statutory outage NGL requires ONR’s permission to return to service. If at any time ONR was not content with the safety of the plant we would not permit continued operation.

Background information on this subject in general was published in May this year.