EDF extends life of Dungeness 

Dungeness B will now be extended by a decade, postponing its scheduled closure, after a £150m investment programme.

 

The extension from EDF energy means the nuclear power station, which was due to close in 2018, will be able to generate low carbon electricity, producing enough power each year to supply the equivalent of 1.5m homes, until 2028. 

 

The MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins said the decision would benefit the local area: "This is excellent news for the local economy. In Shepway more than 1,000 people have jobs linked to the nuclear industry.

 

"Dungeness B directly employs 550 people and provides regular work for a further 200 contractors.  Through wages alone, Dungeness B puts £40 million a year into the local economy."

Extending the license has required support from the government through the regulator, which has also been possible due to the £150m investment from EDF.   This has included improving the defence and the computer systems in the control room.

 

Damian Collins MP also said that the decision would benefit those already employed at Dungeness: "The extension of the license provides peace of mind for everyone who works at Dungeness that the power station will be generating electricity until at least 2028."

 

He also explained why nuclear power is important in creating energy: "We need to have reliable and secure sources of energy. Dungeness provides the power each year for 1.5 million homes. This energy is available come rain or shine, and when the wind doesn't blow.  It is also a low carbon source of energy. Renewables have a part to play in our energy system, but we need the power that nuclear can provide." 

 

The Green Party believe that nuclear power is inherently unsafe and place huge burdens on future generations for centuries to come.

 

Party member and Kent County Councillor for Hythe, Martin Whybrow said the extension reflects successive governments lack of a coherent energy strategy and that jobs could be created through alternative forms of energy: "Far more jobs would be created through a proper, committed focus on alternative forms of energy, that are safe, clean and sustainable.

 

"Other European countries have created thousands of green jobs, built new expertise and boosted exports by investing in renewables, while we dangerously put the equivalent of more sticking plaster over old nuclear reactors.

 

He also said he has concerns over its safety: "Nuclear reactors were given a finite life for a reason - safety. Dungeness B has already had one ten-year extension, so this is in addition.

 

"The plant has had increasing numbers of outages in recent years and there has already been a watering down of safety limits, related to the graphite bricks within the reactor. It is worrying that when safety limits are reached, the bar is then lowered."

Damian Collins MP on the extension   

Watch the MP's report below