EDF Energy has announced that it will extend the operating life of two nuclear power stations – Hinkley Point B in Somerset and Hunterston B in North Ayrshire – by seven years.
The plants are now expected to remain operational until at least 2023, producing enough low carbon electricity for nearly two million homes in the UK.
Life extensions for the stations mean secure energy for the country and benefits for over 1,500 employees and contractors at the power plants.
UK Energy Minister John Hayes said that this is "fantastic news" for UK’s energy security.
"This decision will also secure hundreds of skilled jobs in both Somerset and North Ayrshire, highlighting the value of nuclear energy to our economy and society," Hayes added.
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz made the announcement at the re-opening of the Visitor Centre for Hinkley Point B in nearby Bridgwater.
"This decision will provide low carbon energy to keep the lights on in the UK and it will safeguard jobs at the plants, in the UK nuclear industry and its supply chain. It follows a thorough review of safety over the lifetime of each of the plants," Rivaz added.
"We continue to invest £300m each year on capital expenditure in the nuclear fleet, and we spend an additional £350m on plant operations with 90% of the total being spent in the UK."
Image: Western End of Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station in Somerset, England. Photo: courtesy of Richard Baker.