Hartlepool Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station situated on the northern bank of the mouth of the River Tees, 2.5 mi (4.0 km) south of Hartlepool in County Durham, North East England. The Hartlepool Nuclear Power Plant has a net electrical output of 1,190 megawatts, which is the equivalent to the electricity demands of 1.5 million households or 3% of the UK's energy demand. Electricity is produced through the use of two advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR). Hartlepool was only the third nuclear power station in the United Kingdom to use AGR technology. Hartlepool power station was also the first power station to be built as close to a major urban area.

Originally planned in 1967, with construction starting in 1969; the station did not start generating electricity until 1983, and wasn't completed until 1985, initially being operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board. With privatisation of the UK's electric supply industry in 1990, the station has been owned by Nuclear Electric and British Energy, but is now owned and operated by EDF Energy. The plant is expected to close by 2014, but on 18 October 2010 the British government announced that Hartlepool was one of the eight sites it considered suitable for future nuclear power stations.

Hartlepool Nuclear Power Plant Specification

The station is of the advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) type. It provides electricity for over 3% of the UK using two 1575 MWth advanced gas reactors to heat two 660 MWe generators, giving a maximum generating capacity of 1,320 MW. The station's net electrical output is 1,190 MW. This is enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes.

Hartlepool nuclear power plant
Country England
Locale Hartlepool
Status Operational
Construction began 1969-1985
Commission date 1 August 1983
Decommission date Expected to close by 2019
Owner(s) Central Electricity Generating Board
Nuclear Electric
British Energy
EDF Energy

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 x 1575 MW
Reactor type(s) AGR
Reactor supplier(s) National Nuclear Corperation

Power station information
Generation units Two 660 MW General Electric Company units

Power generation information
Installed capacity 1,320 MW
Annual generation 4,600 GW·h

Visitors centre

In the 1990s there was an interactive visitors centre on site. There was also an activity centre for school visits which hosted a number of special events. Tours of the power station itself also took place. The centre has since closed.

Future of the station

The power station was originally expected to shut down in 2009, but was given permission by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) for an extension of five years in 2007, meaning that it can continue to generate until 2014. In 2010, the lifetime was further extended by another five years, so that generation can continue until 2019.

New nuclear station

In July 2008, the plant's then operator British Energy, suggested that the site would be a good location for a replacement nuclear power station. Then a year later in July 2009, the UK government named Hartlepool on a list of eleven sites in England and Wales, where new nuclear power stations could be built. On 9 November 2009, the government announced that ten of these sites, including Hartlepool, had been given the go-ahead for the construction of new reactors. If built, the station would use reactors capable of generating 1,800 MW each. It would cost between £1 billion and £2 billion to construct, would employ up to 3,000 construction workers for the possible six year construction period, as well as providing 600 full time jobs once completed. The new station has an anticipated operating life of 60 years.

The plans are opposed by environmental groups such as Greenpeace. Many local people are also opposed to the move as the power station lies 1.65 mi (2.66 km) from the local resort of Seaton Carew, although others support the idea as the current power station is a major employer in this area of high unemployment.

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