Finance News

Owner Hinkley Point B Says It Won’t Extend Nuclear Power Plant’s Life

The owner of one of the UK’s six nuclear power plants has said it will not extend its life after a planned summer shutdown, despite officials raising concerns about the danger of power cuts in the months to come.

France’s EDF Energy sent a memo to staff on Monday saying it will not delay the shutdown of the two reactors at Hinkley Point B in Somerset, scheduled for July 8 and August 1.

The plant’s shutdown will remove nearly a gigawatt of power generation capacity from Britain’s system — enough to power 1.5 million homes — before a winter when the war in Ukraine is expected to weigh heavily on electricity supplies.

The government has toned down fears of power outages later this year after officials were found to have modeled a “fair worst-case scenario” where millions of households could be forced to cut their electricity consumption during peak hours.

That modeling, first reported by the Times, included an option to expand Hinkley Point B, something pundits and politicians have been talking about for months. But it is clear that the government has not made a formal request to EDF to keep the reactors open.

The government is making efforts to build enough electricity to maintain buffers over the winter as households grapple with a cost of living crisis triggered by energy prices expected to rise further into the fall.

Last week, the company secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, wrote to the National Grid power grid operator to work with the owners of coal-fired power plants that had to close in September to extend their lifespan. This is despite the government’s commitment to quickly phase out the heavily polluting fuel