EDF Energy’s 15 nuclear reactor units in the UK produced their highest output for seven years in 2012, enough to power half of the country’s homes, the company has said.
According to EDF, the 60 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity produced by the units, at eight nuclear stations, in 2012 was almost 50 percent higher than 2008, the last year before EDF acquired the stations when it bought British Energy in 2009.
EDF said in a statement that the performance is the result of the 300 million pounds (GBP) (483 million US dollars, 370 million euro) annual investment in the power stations, in addition to GBP 350 million spent on plant operations every year.
In December 2012, EDF Energy announced it is extending the expected commercial operating life of four reactor units at two nuclear stations, Hinkley Point B in Somerset and Hunterston B in Scotland, to 2023.
Investment in skills and training has also helped maintenance teams plan and carry out work more effectively, cutting the number of unplanned outages, EDF said.
The company said the plants’ safety records in 2012 remained “among the best”.
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said the performance of EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations will help “postpone the energy gap in the short term”, but he highlighted the need “to move forward with plans to build the next generation of nuclear stations to provide reliable, energy for the long term.”
On 26 November 2012, the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation granted a site licence to NNB Generation Company, the new nuclear build subsidiary of EDF Energy, which wants to build two UK European Pressurised Water Reactors at Hinkley Point.
Mr de Rivaz said that “after significant progress last year a final investment decision on our new nuclear project in Somerset is now within reach.”
He said the construction of two new units at Hinkley Point has the potential to create thousands of jobs and have a long-lasting impact on the UK’s skills and industrial capacity.
EDF Energy’s eight nuclear plants in the UK are: Hunterston B (two units), Hinkley Point B (two units), Hartlepool (two units), Heysham-A (two units), Heysham-B (two units), Dungeness B (two units), Torness (two units) and Sizewell B (one unit).