A NUCLEAR power station is to move into decommissioning within the next two years, it has been announced.

EDF said Hinkley Point B power station in Bridgwater will be moved into the defuelling phase no later than July 2022.

Hinkley Point B started generating electricity in 1976 and since then has produced more than 300 terawatt hours of power – an amount of energy that would meet the electricity requirements of every home in the UK for three years.

Station director Peter Evans said: “This station has delivered more low-carbon energy during its lifetime than any other UK nuclear station.

“This is an outstanding achievement and a testament to the dedication of all those who have worked here over the decades.

“When work started on this generation of nuclear reactors in the 1960s, few could have anticipated how important it has become to generate our power with little or no emissions.”

He added: “Over its life, this station has helped the UK avoid millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and provided rewarding jobs for thousands of people and supply chain partners across Britain.

“Although there is much change to come, this is a moment to be proud of what we have achieved.”

In 2012, EDF extended the estimated generating life of Hinkley Point B by seven years from 2016 to March 2023.

The announcement means the site will stop generating energy just a few months ahead of this and more than 15 years later than originally planned in the 1960s.

Once Hinkley Point B stops generating power for good, EDF will begin defuelling the station – the first stage of nuclear decommissioning.

Matt Sykes, managing director of EDF Generation, said: “While EDF has been busy building the first in the next generation of nuclear reactors next door, Hinkley Point B power station has been playing a critical part in keeping the UK’s lights on and emissions down.

“Running a nuclear power plant this efficiently for over 40 years leads to changes in the reactors.

“Our inspections of Hinkley’s reactor cores this year show that the graphite blocks are in exactly the sort of condition we predicted they would be at this stage in the station’s lifetime.

“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, which is why we have made this proactive decision.”