The Morecambe Bay region is set for an economic boost resulting from the two-month shut down of a reactor at Heysham 2 power station.

The reactor was turned off on January 31 to allow a planned £25 million worth of maintenance work to help extend the lifespan of the plant, located just across the Cumbrian border.

The station’s regular workforce will be doubled during the work, which includes replacing gas circulators, which help cool the reactor, and also replacing some of the site’s turbines.

It is one of two reactors at the station which, when operational, generate enough electricity to power two million homes saving around eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, said its operators EDF Energy.

Mark Lees, station director at Heysham 2 said: “These eight-week shutdowns are a key part of station life and support our plans to run for at least another decade.

“During the shutdown we are supported by around 750 extra skilled people, many of whom are drawn from the local community.

“We know that the local economy receives a real boost during the shutdowns as those working here temporarily support the restaurants, shops, and hotels.

“Once this reactor’s shutdown is safely completed in early April we will be back to making low carbon electricity for around one million homes.”

The investment at Heysham 2 is part of EDF’s £500m annual maintenance programme of its eight power stations throughout the country, which combined generate up to 20 per cent of the UK’s power each year. 

The focus remains on extending the UK’s existing fleet of operational nuclear power stations, all of which will have stopped generating energy in the next 15 years.

A previous plan for a new fleet of power stations to replace them has been left in tatters.

Hinkley Point C in Somerset is currently the only one to make the construction phase. Plans for a station at the Moorside site in Cumbria have been abandoned while plants in Anglesey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire have been mothballed as the industry wait for the Government to reveal the way it will support new nuclear power station developments in the future.