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Unite wants commitment

Call for nuclear pledge as Hunterston to close early

Hunterston B (pic: EDF)

Hunterston will close early

Trade union Unite has urged the UK government to commit to new nuclear energy capacity following energy giant EDF Energy’s decision to bring forward the closure of the Hunterston B power station in Ayrshire by two years.

The plant’s reactors have been generating electricity since 1976 but five years ago more than 350 cracks were found in the graphite bricks which make up the reactor’s core.

The state-owned French company EDF wanted to keep them going until at least 2023. 

However, it has decided to bring forward the plans affecting approximately 580 workers. About 125 will lose their jobs next January with others retained until 2025 for the de-fuelling process.

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Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: “This is sad news but not unexpected for the dedicated and loyal staff who have provided decades of safe, reliable, low carbon electricity for Scotland.  

“Unite will continue to work with EDF over the coming months to ensure a just transition for the workforce to ensure these highly skilled members are retained.”

Peter McIntosh, Unite national officer for the energy and utilities sector, said: “It’s vital now that the UK Government commit to replacing the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor fleet and give a clear commitment, building new nuclear power stations at Sizewell Bin Suffolk and Moorside in Cumbria.”

Matt Sykes, managing director for EDF’s generation business, said: “Hunterston B has quietly delivered a major contribution to the UK for more than 40 years.

“It has far exceeded its original remit and, over its lifetime, gone on to safely produce enough low-carbon energy to power the whole of Scotland for eight years.

“Our focus is on continuing to safely deliver the last period of power generation and then transition the station into decommissioning.”

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