Hinkley Point B to start final run of producing electricity before shutting down next summer

Hinkley Point B is about to start its final run of producing electricity before it shuts down for good next summer.

The nuclear power station on the West Somerset coastline has been operating for over 45 years and it's expected that many members of staff will stay on to help with de-fuelling and decommissioning. 

Bill Halder - who has worked at Hinkley Point B for 45 years - is about to help the station stop generating power. He started as an apprentice in 1976 and is now an engineer.

Bill Halder has worked at Hinkley Point B for 45 years. Credit: ITV West Country

“It was quite an amazing time to be here. There was a huge buzz about the place", he said.

He added: "When the power plant's running, you've got the noise of the machinery, the heat and sometimes even the smells, and it feels like a living thing.

"But when it's going to be shut down, it's cold and quiet. It won't be the same place at all, so everyone will miss the running phase, of course.”

In the next few days, the reactors will start their final spell of generating power before being shut down for good next summer.

He told ITV News: “There are inevitably loads of opportunities for our staff as we look to the future.

"When you think about the whole net zero ambition for the country, the kind of technology, the infrastructure and the zero carbon electricity we'll need absolutely we'll rely on skill sets and capabilities that we have. So I'm really confident there'll be masses of opportunities way into the future.”

Many of these opportunities will be next door at Hinkley Point C - the site currently being built. Apprenticeships will be working at B station to develop their skills before potentially being part of the next generation of nuclear power staff.

Hinkley Point C is still under construction.

Apprentice Jessica Williams told ITV News: "So it's quite different to what we'll actually be dealing with as there's a lot of very old equipment here. Some of it's very complicated. It's quite interesting to learn about."

Another apprentice, Matthew Pye, said: "It's an industry that you can stay invested in for a long time. My my family have been working on power stations since my granddad. So it's a bit of a family line of working on them."

Whilst domestic electricity won't be produced from Point B after next summer, it's far from the end of the station's life.

After the shutdown the nuclear fuel will need to be removed from the site followed by deconstruction.

But with that final run of the reactors starting in the next week - there's very much the feeling here of this being the start of the end of an era.