10 more years for N-power station
The expected life of a nuclear power station is to be extended by 10 years, owner EDF Energy has announced.
Dungeness B in Kent was due to close in 2018, but will continue in operation until 2028 thanks to a £150 million investment programme.
The site, which employs 750 workers, started generating electricity in 1983 and is one of eight operated by the French energy giant.
EDF said the decision to extend the life of the power station followed extensive reviews of its safety cases and work with the Office for Nuclear Regulator.
EDF said the decision is part of a wider programme to extend the lives of all its nuclear power stations in the UK.
Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy Chief Executive, said: "The decision to extend the life of Dungeness B is only possible because of the collaboration, innovation and technical expertise of EDF Energy and its long-term partners. Customers will benefit from this significant investment through many more years of reliable, low carbon electricity."
Martin Pearson, Station Director at Dungeness B, said: "We've invested heavily in Dungeness so that we could make the case to safely extend its life by ten years.
"Life extension means the station will continue to provide hundreds of skilled jobs and provide a launchpad for the apprentices who will begin their careers at Dungeness B. We'll also carry on contributing more than £40 million to the local economy in Kent and East Sussex."
Dungeness B operates two advanced gas cooled reactors (AGRs) and last year produced enough electricity to power 40% of homes in Greater London.
EDF said all seven of its AGR stations will be operating until 2023, when its new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset is due to be commissioned.
The firm said it was currently investing around £600 million a year at its UK power stations.
EDF also announced a £40 million-a-year contract with Cavendish Nuclear, part of Babcock International, for maintenance and other support at its nuclear power stations.
Gary Smith, national officer of the GMB union, said: "This confirms that nuclear power is essential to keeping the lights on. GMB also welcome safeguarding 750 jobs at the station.
"The £150 million investment programme will also create jobs in the engineering construction supply chain."