Written by the MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent
This week, EDF Energy announced that it will not resume power generation at Dungeness B, but will instead begin emptying the plant later next year.
This ends the life of a power plant which, since 1983, has created thousands of jobs and supplied energy to millions of homes and businesses.
It was a day we knew was coming because the station was already operating beyond its expected productive life.
However, ending power generation at Dungeness B does not interrupt the nuclear industry’s work on Romney Marsh, which will continue for many years to come.
The emptying and dismantling of Dungeness B marks the final phase of its life, and one that will still support a large number of local jobs.
Tuesday this week, I discussed the plan with John Benn, the station manager. He confirmed to me that refueling will probably not start until the end of 2022, and that the whole process will take about ten years from where we are today.
During this time, the majority of people working at Dungeness will still be needed on site to handle this process.
In the early 2030s, once the defueling is complete, Dungeness B will be handed over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which will then begin the decades-long process of dismantling the site.
However, I believe that Dungeness may have a nuclear future beyond decommissioning and emptying. New Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR) technology would be ideal for a place like Dungeness.
These were developed by Rolls Royce, the concept has been proven and the first units could be ready to feed the grid by 2031. Unlike a traditional power plant, they are built off-site in a factory and assembled on site. square. Several SMRs could be in operation on the same site.
I have already met Rolls Royce, as well as David Monk, the head of Folkestone and Hythe District Council, to stress the benefits of Dungeness.
The government has already recognized that existing nuclear sites, and in particular those connected to the grid, would be the best place to host SMRs.
Dungeness scores positive on all of these points, and SMRs could be placed on land that has already been decommissioned at Dungeness A, and is in fact brownfield.
I wrote this week to Secretary of State for Business and Energy Kwasi Kwarteng to outline the case for SMRs at Dungeness.
This week, the Boundaries Commission released its first recommendations regarding new constituency boundaries for the next general election. There will now be an open consultation on the proposals, with final limits to be approved by July 2023.
There has been no change in the boundaries since the 2010 general election, and population growth in our district and in Ashford has resulted in a considerable reshuffle of the boundaries in East Kent.
You can check out the proposals on the Limits Commission website, and it’s important that you have your say.
Unfortunately, as the constituency of Folkestone and Hythe was already well above the maximum number of voters allowed, we will have to lose some areas to other constituencies.
I would have preferred not to lose any of the communities that I have been proud to serve over the past 11 years, but unfortunately some changes will have to be made. However, it is important that we get these good results.