After over 46 years of providing energy, one of Scotland’s two nuclear power facilities has shut down.
Hunterston B has produced enough energy to power every home in Scotland for over 31 years throughout its existence.
The factory was only supposed to be operational for 25 years, but thanks to investment, it might be extended.
Lang Banks of WWF Scotland said the plant’s closure was “inevitable” since renewable energy had replaced nuclear power.
Paul Forrest, the station’s director, explained: “We don’t simply shut down the power plant, lock the gates, and go. Defueling and decommissioning the facility will take time, and we will continue to require trained personnel to do so.”
It was evident in the crowd of around a dozen former employees who gathered along the approach road to witness this nuclear power station, their station, die.
The final explosion from a 46-year-old event on Scotland’s west coast, a spectacle to mark its death, was a 40-second quick expulsion of steam into the frigid January air.
They may now release the steam into the atmosphere because it will no longer be required to power the turbines. As the decommissioning process begins, their task is completed.
Before it is turned over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the facility will be defueled for three years, employing the majority of the 480-strong crew.
Hunterston has long been one of the major employers in the area. It will now follow in the footsteps of IBM and Inverkip Power Station, two centers of invention, competence, and hard work that have woven a feeling of pride throughout this length of the Clyde coast for many years.
It wasn’t a day to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear energy for the former Hunterston employees who came out to say their goodbyes, but rather a day to reflect on a life’s work.
Tom McKerrell, a former systems engineer who started as a craft apprentice in 1968, stated, “(It’s) sad, it was a lovely place to work,”
He stood with scientists Susan and John Revie, who had worked together and later married, as they watched Hunterston’s final steam discharge.
“There we’re so many people who were very committed,” Susan remarked. “It was very exciting.”
They’re the ones who kept the lights turned on. It was a job, regardless of the benefits or drawbacks of nuclear power. They returned to reflect on a job well done.