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THE operating life of Hartlepool’s nuclear power station could be extended again.
And if it is, it could mean 700 people having their jobs safeguarded to 2024, and possibly beyond.
The news came from the director of the plant, Simon Parsons, just hours after another piece of good news which saw a multi-million pound deal unveiled.
Just yesterday, the plant’s owners EDF Energy revealed a deal with Doosan Babcock which is expected to be worth £70m a year over several years.
The contract covers seven of EDF’s eight nuclear power stations which are Hartlepool, Dungeness B in Kent, Hunterston B in North Ayrshire, Hinkley Point B in Somerset, Heysham 1 and 2 in Lancashire and Torness in East Lothian.
Under the lifetime enterprise agreement (LEA), Doosan Babcock will support the ongoing operation of the power stations and deliver projects to support life extension.
Now comes news that power station bosses could look to extend the life of the plant by a further five years - and perhaps even further.
Mr Parsons said: “We started generating here at Hartlepool in 1983 and while we’re currently due to go into decommissioning in 2019 we’re working towards extending the life of the station for a few years beyond that, hopefully past 2024.”
He said, if the extension was granted, it would preserve the jobs of the 700 people working on the site - 550 employed by EDF Energy and around 150 long term contractors.
Mr Parsons added: “On top of that we carry out periodic maintenance outages which can see hundreds more workers on site for weeks on end.
“Because the power we produce is low carbon - enough for around two million homes every minute of every day - the station has avoided around 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions which is equivalent to removing all the vehicles from the entire UK’s roads for around two years.
“Life extension is a key part of our strategy, where it is safe and economical to do so and I look forward to confirming extended life for Hartlepool in the next few years.”