Nuclear authority extends Wylfa plant generation

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The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has announced that the Wylfa nuclear power station is to continue generating electricity beyond December 2010 for up to two additional years.

The Wylfa plant on Anglesey in north Wales, which is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, was scheduled to close at the end of this year, but will now continue producing electricity for a further period — likely to be around two years — following a period of review with the site’s regulators.

The site is operated by Magnox North, which has been undertaking work to support the period of extended generation over the last year, including an evaluation of the Periodic Safety Review — required every 10 years by the Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate, the regulator of safety and security in the nuclear industry — to validate the safe and compliant operation of the site. The Environment Agency, which regulates other aspects of the site’s work, had also been involved in the programme of work.

January 2011 will see the Wylfa nuclear plant celebrate its 40th anniversary as a generating power station. Wylfa has the world’s largest Magnox reactors and has generated 682TWhrs in its operational life to date.

Charles Hendry, minister of state for energy, said: ’Extending generation for a further two years is very welcome news. The additional income it generates will make a significant contribution to meeting the costs of decommissioning other legacy sites, reducing the bill for the taxpayer.’