AFTER more than 46 years generating home grown zero-carbon electricity, Hinkley Point B has today (Monday, August 1) switched off its second reactor.

At precisely 10am, the station, which first produced power in February 1976, has ended its run as the most productive nuclear power station the country has ever had.

Mike Davies, station director of Hinkley Point B, said: “This is a day of mixed emotions for all of us.

"We are justifiably proud of everything this station and its workforce have given to Somerset, and indeed the country, over decades of operations.

"The huge amount of electricity we’ve produced could have met the needs of every home in the South West for 33 years.

“There is much to be proud of.

"This tiny corner of Somerset has produced huge amounts of zero-carbon electricity, supported and enriched our community and helped sustain the South West nuclear sector by providing thousands of well-paid, high skilled jobs to our community.“

Over the coming weeks and months, teams at Hinkley Point B will undertake major maintenance and improvement projects across the plant to get it ready for defuelling.

That process, expected to last three to four years, involves removing the remaining nuclear fuel from the reactors and transporting it to Sellafield for storage.

Once completed, EDF will hand the station to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for decommissioning.

Mr Davies added: “When a power station is generating it looks, sounds and smells a certain way.

"It’s a familiar experience that most people who work here, or who are familiar with our site know and, to some degree, love.

“But all that changed today as our turbines slowed and stopped for the final time.

"Of course we’ve had that experience when we’ve been on outages – but we’ve always known they’d be back on again and we’d be generating.

“Now we have a new job and a huge amount of interesting work to do.

"I’m excited for Somerset that Hinkley Point C is taking shape on our horizon but I also know that thanks to this station, and everything it’s achieved, our colleagues have got very big boots to fill.”

The station employs around 500 staff and 250 contractors and contributes around £40million a year to the Somerset economy.