Original article from Kent Live
EDF has announced it will begin defuelling Dungeness B power station with "immediate effect".
The nuclear power station, located in Dungeness on the Romney Marsh, has been offline since 2018 due to a number of "significant and ongoing" technical challenges – but until today it wasn't expected to be decommissioned until at least 2025.
The power station employs around 500 staff and 250 contractors on site.
John Benn, station director at Dungeness B said: “This power station has been a cornerstone of life in Kent for decades. It is a very special place and the team has a real sense of family – we are part of the community.
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“EDF has had to make a hard decision – but it is the right one. It gives our teams, our community and our business a clear understanding of the future.
“I’m enormously proud of everything the team at Dungeness has achieved. Our low-carbon electricity has helped Britain over the past four decades and we have provided this part of Kent with vital jobs for generations.
"This marks the beginning of the next chapter in this station’s story. We will now plan the defuelling operations, a job we expect will take several years, and one that provides ongoing opportunities for our staff and their specialist skills.”
Defuelling is the first stage of decommissioning a nuclear power station and a process which involves continued use of EDF’s staff and specialist supply chain companies.
Construction began at Dungeness B in 1967 and the plant connected to the electricity grid in 1983. The original design life was 2008 and this was extended following investment in the plant at that time and subsequently.
In 2016 Dungeness had its best ever year, generating enough energy to meet the needs of some 2 million homes.
In 2015 the estimated end of generation was extended to 2028, with a three year either-way proviso.