EDF calls time on UK’s costly AGR nuclear odyssey
Early defuelling of Dungeness B reminds us of the perils of big-ticket atomic infrastructure projects
French utility EDF has abruptly moved to de-fuel the inoperative Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent, south-east England. The decision marks the early demise of this particular design of nuclear reactor, which was hoped to be the first of many such facilities but ended up being one-of-a-kind. While the technology differs from that being installed at EDF’s other nuclear facilities in the UK and continental Europe, the debacle serves as a timely reminder of the perils of committing huge capital sums into enormous civil atomic infrastructure projects prone to decades-long delays and gargantuan cost overruns.
Dungeness B has been mothballed since September 2018 and was already scheduled for decommissioning by 2028. EDF has been grappling with “a range of unique, significant and ongoing technical challenges,” the utility said on Monday.
“Although many have been overcome, new detailed analysis has further highlighted additional station…