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British Energy News

10-year life extension at Dungeness B nuclear power station

15th September 2005

British Energy this morning took the major step of extending the accounting life-time of its Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent by 10 years.

The company announced it has completed the necessary technical and economic evaluation, as well as the requisite external reviews, that will see the plant (one of the region’s largest employers) continue operating until 2018.

The news is seen as a massive boost to the regional economy, guaranteeing quality jobs and investment for the future.

It also means the Dungeness B plant, which has recently seen a major improvement in output, will continue to make a powerful contribution to the UK’s energy needs, providing reliable, carbon-free generation.

Bill Coley, British Energy’s chief executive, was delighted at the news, commenting: "This decision is an important step in securing safe and profitable life extensions for our power stations, adding to the UK’s security of electricity supply and contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions."

The life extension for Dungeness B is not indicative of potential for further life extensions at the company’s other nuclear power stations. They will be subject to separate technical and economic evaluations, expected to be completed a minimum of three years before scheduled closure dates.

Alan Oulton, British Energy's Dungeness B station director at the plant said: "This is great news for all of us at the station and to everyone in our community."

"The decision means we can continue to provide jobs and bring major investment to the area. It also shows that British Energy recognises the hard work and commitment staff have put into improving the station’s performance and output."

The station employs more than 550 full-time staff and brings in an estimated £30m a year to the local community.

The last few years has seen a continued improvement in the plant’s performance with the last two providing a record high generation level at a total of 13.75 TWh.

Dungeness B nuclear power station has produced some 75.87 TWh of generation since first supplying the National Grid in 1983. This amount equates to providing all the electricity needed for the entire Greater London area and the South-East region, for a whole year.

During its working life so far the station has also saved the equivalent of 52 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – a major contribution to the UK’s clean-air agenda.

Trade union representative (AMICUS) Tim Davison said that staff are delighted with the news. He said: "All of the employees at site whether British Energy or contractors, are proud of what has been achieved and delighted that we can continue for a further 10 years".

British Energy expects total group investment in plant projects, major repairs and strategic spares to be £230m to £250m for this financial year, and £200m to £250m for 2006/07. This includes the cost of work on the life extension project. In addition, an incremental £25m investment in Dungeness B is expected from the three years from 2007/08.


NOTE TO PICTURE DESK: New high resolution images of Dungeness B power station can be found by clicking here.

For further information please contact:

John McNamara – Media Manager
Mob: 07774 747713

Andrew Dowler – Financial Dynamics
Tel: 0207 269 7140
Mob: 07887 607744

Martin Pearce - Public Relations officer for the South of England
Tel :0207 266 8390 or 07834 681869.

British Energy Media Line – 01452 652233
(Please leave a message – duty press officer will respond)