Energy firm EDF has declared it will extend the life of four of its high nuclear power plants operating in the UK, in a move that is expected to safeguard 2,000 jobs and help with declining energy supplies.
Heysham 1 and Hartlepool are set to have their life extended by five years until 2024, while Heysham 2 and Torness will see their closure dates increased by seven years to 2030.
The firm maintained that the decision was made after ‘extensive technical and safety reviews’.
Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: "Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations.
"Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever."
The news comes as the energy firm claimed its 2015 profits fell by 68 per cent as a result of write downs on coal-fired plants and well below analysts’ expectations. Figures also show its shares have fallen almost 25 per cent since the beginning of 2016.
Collectively, the plants provide electricity to around a quarter of the UK’s homes. However, there is concern about the amount of energy available to keep the lights on as many of Britain’s ageing power plants close.