Torness in Scotland (pictured) and Heysham 2 will have their closure dates pushed back by seven years, while Heysham 1 and Hartlepool will remain in production for five more years.
Heysham 1 in Lancashire and Hartlepool will now close in 2024, while the closure of Heysham 2 and Torness is scheduled for 2030.
The four stations .
EDF said the decision to extend the life of half of its plants – which provide electricity to about a quarter of the UK’s homes – followed “extensive technical and safety reviews”.
But it will also ease fears of the lights going out as talks continue over investment in the new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Critics have criticised the government for not going ahead with carbon capture technology for coal-fired powered stations.
EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations.
“Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever.”
The postponed closure will be good news for 2,000 permanent staff and 1,000 contractors as well hundreds of suppliers to the plants.
It comes at a time when the closure of Britain’s ageing power plants has raised concerns about the capacity available to meet the country’s energy needs.
EDF has agreed a deal in principle to build the Hinkley plant and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) will pay a third of the £18bn project in exchange for a 33.5% stake.
Reports that EDF is struggling to find the remainder of the cash from investors has put a question mark over the project.