After 46 years, one of only two nuclear power plants in Scotland has closed down for good
The Hunterston B nuclear power plant, located in north Ayrshire, Scotland, has finally ceased activity, after almost 46 years. During its lifetime, the facility has generated enough power to provide every home in Scotland with electricity for nearly 31 years.
Investment in the plant meant that its original planned lifespan of 25 years had been extended. With the current growth in renewable energy, it means that nuclear power is no longer required, and its closure was inevitable said WWF Scotland’s Lang Banks.
Paul Forrest, the Station director explained, “We don’t just switch off the power station, close the gates, and walk away. It will take time to defuel and decommission the site, and we will continue to need skilled people to do this”.
As the plant drew its last breath, a 40-second release of rapid steam was blasted out into the cold air, a poignant moment observed by around a dozen or so former employees who had assembled in the roadway to witness this final symbol of its end of life.
There now begins the decommissioning process, which involves defuelling the station. This will reportedly take at least three years, and will give most of the 480-strong workforce a job. Once that is completed, the Hunterston B facility will be left in the hands of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Historically, along with IBM and Inverkip Power Station, Hunterston has been one of the big employers in this part of the world along the coast of the Clyde.
Tom McKerrell started work as an apprentice at the plant in 1968, becoming a systems engineer, as he stood watching the end of the plant’s life, he commented, “It’s sad, it was a lovely place to work”.
Also present with Tom were Susan and John Revie, a pair of physicists, and a couple who ended up marrying after meeting at Hunterston. “There were so many people who were very committed. It was very exciting”, said Susan.
Nuclear power has its believers and non-believers, but whatever they might think, these people kept Scottish homes with power for decades, and loved their jobs, as reported by news.sky.com.