EDF Energy has announced it will begin shutting down the 45-year-old reactors at Hinkley Point B nuclear power plant within the next two years.
The “defuelling” will begin no later than July 2022, according to the French energy group.
The shutdown was scheduled for 2023, but cracks were discovered in the graphite core of the reactor during an inspection in June this year.
Matt Sykes, the managing director of EDF Generation, said an inspection of Hinkley Point B’s graphite blocks revealed they were “in exactly the sort of condition” expected after 40 years of generating electricity.
The power plant, which has been Britain’s most productive and whose operational life was extended, is offline for further inspections and is scheduled to return to service next year, pending approval from Britain’s nuclear safety watchdog.
“As a responsible operator we feel it is now the right thing to do to give clarity to our staff, partners and community about the future life of the station,” Sykes said.