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Boost for North Ayrshire business as Hunterston B power station maintenance starts

There will be a boost for businesses in North Ayrshire as hundreds of additional workers join the team at EDF Energy’s Hunterston B power station to carry out a major maintenance programme worth around £20m.

One of the two reactors at the power station was taken off line on Friday 8th September for an eight week period.

The start of this maintenance period also marks a record run for the station. The reactor has been safely generating low-carbon electricity continuously since it was brought back into service at the end of its last outage period. When the reactor was taken offline it had been running for 495 days; that is the longest run in the station’s 41 year history.

More than 450 extra workers will join the 750 strong workforce for the maintenance period, which is known as a “statutory outage”.

EDF Energy carries out a statutory outage on each of its reactors every three years. These are planned in advance with the National Grid to ensure that there is no impact on the national electricity supply.  The other reactor at Hunterston B is due to continue operating normally throughout the period.

During the outage workers will carry out more than 10,000 separate pieces of work, each carefully planned during the last two years of preparation, including inspections of a range of systems including the boilers, electrical systems and the graphite core. The biggest projects will include replacing three low pressure turbine rotors and the main generator electrical rotor.

Station Director, Colin Weir, said: “This period of maintenance marks the best run of electricity generation in Hunterston B power station’s 41 year history. This achievement is testament to both the planning and commitment of the station’s dedicated workforce and the investment by EDF Energy. The outage will see around £20m of investment in the power station and will give us the chance to do inspections and carry out pieces of work we are not able to perform when the reactor is operating.

“As part of this maintenance we will be working with local suppliers and bringing in an additional 450 workers who will be staying in local hotels and B and B’s, eating in the area’s restaurants and using taxi firms. It is great that our investment in the power station can also benefit our local community just as the peak tourist season is coming to an end.”

Hunterston B power station’s two nuclear reactors generate enough electricity to power almost two million homes and started operating in1976. The station employs more than 500 full time staff and around 250 full time contract partners to ensure the safe reliable generation of electricity.  

Hunterston B has produced enough low carbon electricity to save the equivalent of 96.5 million tonnes of CO2 during its 41 years of operation, the same as taking all of the passenger cars off the UK's roads for 1.4 years.

For more information contact:

Fiona McCall
External Communications Manager (Scotland)
01355 846281
07813 232347
Fiona.McCall@edf-energy.com

Notes to editors

Hunterston B statutory outage in numbers

  • Circa 10,000 separate pieces of work
  • Circa £20m investment.
  • 750 staff and contract partners.
  • 450 extra staff.
  • Take place every 3 years on each reactor.
  • Hunterston B started operating in 1976.
  • In addition to statutory outages Hunterston B also carries out smaller interim outages on its reactors. Reactor 4 is taken offline for an interim outage every 18 months.
  • Has produced enough low carbon electricity to save the equivalent of 96.5 million tonnes of CO2 during its 41 years of operation.
  • This is equivalent to taking all passenger cars off the UK’s roads for 1.4 years.
  • EDF Energy is using a new methodology to compare emissions. Instead of comparing the emissions avoided to the prevailing UK fossil fuel mix EDF Energy now uses the direct emissions of a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant as comparison.

EDF Energy in Scotland

In Scotland EDF Energy operates Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian which employ over 1,000 staff and around 500 contracting partners across the two power stations. EDF Energy employs a further 200 office based staff in East Kilbride.  As well as generating enough power to serve some 4 million homes the company also provides gas and electricity to over 80,000 Scottish customers with around half of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products which are backed by low-carbon generation. We operate two windfarms in the Scottish Borders and make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power up some of the largest organisations in the UK, including supplying almost all public sector bodies in Scotland with after being awarded Scotland’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume from April 2013. Following a landmark agreement with Network Rail the company also provides nuclear-backed Blue energy to power up the UKs electric rail network, covering most of the south east of England and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network.