The UK has eight second generation nuclear power stations accounting for around 16% of total UK electricity generation in 2020. Seven of the eight stations are Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) stations, the design of which built on that of the first generation of now closed Magnox reactors. Under current plans, all of the AGR stations will have stopped generating electricity by 2028. EDF Energy (EDFE) bought the stations in 2009 following the sale of British Energy, which had operated the stations since its privatisation in 1996.
In late 2017, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (the Department) entered into negotiations with EDFE to revise the agreements for the AGR stations, which it finalised in June 2021. Under the revised agreements EDFE will continue, upon closure of the stations, to defuel each of the stations as previously planned. The Department has, however, agreed financial incentives to encourage EDFE to accelerate defueling and transfer of the stations, with the opportunity to gain or lose up to £100 million in nominal terms depending upon its performance. Once defueling is completed, the Department will take the stations back into public ownership. Ownership of the stations will be transferred one by one to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), for its subsidiary Magnox Ltd to complete the decommissioning process by dismantling the reactors and taking down buildings. The Department estimates the new agreements could save the taxpayer up to £1 billion, and that there will be further benefits from the NDA taking over these stations.