A POWER station boss is putting together a business plan to keep a nuclear plant operating well into the 2020s.
Hartlepool power station director Simon Parsons told the Hartlepool Mail he was determined to keep as many people in work in the town for as long as possible, before the day comes when the site has to consider decommissioning.
My job is to get this place to run as long as I can, and it will be for as long as I am here.
The plant already has permission to operate until 2019 under its current life extension.
But Mr Parsons said the aspiration was to operate beyond then.
EDF Energy has stated an average life extension for its plants is seven years.
Mr Parsons added: “We shall run it for as long as it is safe to do so.”
He said: “Come the end of the year, we would like to think we would be in a position to announce something.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for the station.”
Every day, 700 people work at the power station and that includes 520 power station staff as well as about 120 contract workers.
Mr Parsons said 90 per cent of them live within 10 miles of the station and the plant was now “seeing people naturally starting to retire.
“We need a replenishing of the staff levels and we keep people coming through in many ways including our apprentice programme.”
Mr Parsons said he was personally determined to get involved in persuading people to consider a career in the sector and added: “It is a thriving industry.”
EDF Energy helps youngsters to develop, from schools and colleges, by giving them skills in CV writing, presentation skills and advice on what it’s like to work in the industry.
If any further life extension does happen at Hartlepool, it will need investment of around £50m.
And once decommissioning did happen, workers would be given help with re-skilling, said the power station director.
But in the meantime, said Mr Parsons, he was “reasonably confident” that a further life extension for the plant could happen.
He added: “My job is to get this place to run as long as I can, and it will be for as long as I am here.
“The future is bright here and if we can pull off the life extension case, and it is an aspiration for us, it is a good bedrock.”