Power company EDF Energy reportedly plans to shut Hinkley Point B nuclear plant in south-west England earlier than planned.

Reuters reported that the company will confirm the date of closure by the end of this year.

The 1GW nuclear power plant, located in Somerset, started operations in 1976 and is scheduled to shut permanently in early 2023.

Recently, the company made a statement announcing plans to initiate decommissioning of the Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Scotland by January 2022.

An EDF Energy spokesperson said: “It is possible we may need to move into defuelling within the next two years. We will review this decision in the same detailed way as we have with Hunterston B, and expect to be able to confirm the outcome by the end of this year.”

The decision to close the Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B plants comes as a result of ageing issues and identified cracks within their graphite bricks.

EDF Energy spokesman further added: “This has been the case for several years and underlines the urgent need for investment in new, low-carbon nuclear power to help Britain achieve net-zero [emissions] and secure the future for its nuclear industry, supply chain and workers.”

This would mean four out of eight nuclear power stations in Britain would be decommissioned by March 2024, taking away 4GW of power generation capacity across the country.

Currently, EDF Energy is engaged in the construction of a new nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C. This will come online at some point from 2025.

The company also awaits the government’s funding decision for its Sizewell C project.

Last month, EDF Energy announced that it is ready to restart electricity generation at the Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire, Scotland.