EDF Energy has reported that its eight UK nuclear power stations produced their highest output for seven years in 2012.
The 60 Terawatt hours of low carbon electricity produced was almost 50% higher than the last year before the stations were acquired by EDF Group in 2009 and is enough to power half of the UK’s homes.
The news follows the recent seven year life extension of two power stations at Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B to 2023 and demonstrates the key role the company’s 15 nuclear reactors have to play in dealing with the UK’s energy gap.
The exceptional performance is a result of the £300 million annual investment in the power stations which is in addition to £350 million spent on plant operations every year. Investment in skills and training has also helped maintenance teams plan and carry out work more effectively, cutting the number of unplanned outages. Performance has also been raised by the application of EDF Group’s global expertise in operating nuclear power stations.
The plants’ safety record in 2012 also remained among the best yet, underlining the strong link between safety and operational efficiency.
The stations’ output avoided the emission of almost 41 million tonnes of CO2 which would have been produced if the same amount of electricity had been generated by fossil fuels. This is equivalent to removing 60% of all the UK passenger cars off the roads.
The investment in people also saw the recruitment of a new generation of British nuclear talent with 72 apprentices and 66 graduates joining EDF Energy in 2012.
EDF Energy’s nuclear-backed energy provides electricity for millions of domestic customers, as well as major businesses like Network Rail who have just signed a new ten-year contract with EDF Energy to power the UK’s trains. EDF Energy now sells these nuclear-backed products under the “Blue” brand.
EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “The exceptional performance of EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations is helping to keep the lights on in Britain with the reliable, low carbon electricity the country needs.
“This will help postpone the energy gap in the short term, but underlines the need to move forward with plans to build the next generation of nuclear stations to provide reliable, energy for the long term.
“After significant progress last year, a final investment decision on our new nuclear project in Somerset is now within reach. EDF Energy is building a robust business case for that decision. Progress with Government on agreeing a price for the electricity from new nuclear through a Contract for Difference is at the heart of that case and rapid progress on this is now needed to unlock the investment potential of a project which is ready to go. It has the potential to create thousands of jobs and have a long-lasting impact on the UK’s skills and industrial capacity.”
Source: EDF Energy