Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station represents the enduring strength of Britain’s industrial legacy, and it provides a blueprint for our future prosperity, security, and environmental sustainability.
The station, which turns 40 today, is without doubt the greatest energy asset in the history of the North-East of England, and one of the greatest in British history.
From less than one tenth of one square mile, it has produced enough clean, reliable, British power to light up every home in the Tees Valley for 200 years. No other station in the region comes close.
Every year, it also saves 1.5 billion cubic metres of imported gas, which is money out of Putin’s hands. Every day, it produces enough electricity for more than 2 million homes: without it, we would not have been able to keep the lights on last winter.
Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station is also a bedrock of the local community. The station sustains more than 700 jobs, putting tens of millions of pounds into the pockets of people living right here. The jobs are skilled, stable and well-paid, so you can build a life and a family, as well as pay the bills.
For 40 years, nuclear on Teesside has delivered exactly what we now want from a new green economy: clean power, energy security and good jobs for local people. The lesson is simple enough: build more nuclear power stations.
Teesside, however, could do something special with new nuclear reactors: it could usher in a revolution in industrial production in this country.
Heavy industry burns fossil fuels because it needs heat. Nuclear can replace it: nuclear energy is our only source of clean, reliable, predictable heat at scale. We have chosen to use that heat to generate electricity, but that is not the only thing we could do. We could choose to provide high-grade steam directly to industry. We could choose to use that heat to produce hydrogen for high-temperature industrial processes. We could use that heat to do all three, helping create a flexible energy system in partnership with renewable energy and carbon capture. New advanced nuclear reactors designed to generate very high temperatures are here and ready for the challenge.
Imagine the possibilities: our heavy industries saved for future generations, freed from global gas prices, powered by homegrown British clean energy and competitive on the world stage.
Hartlepool is the place to prove it can be done. It has a site designated for new nuclear development. It has the heavy industries that would be customers for heat, power and hydrogen. Lastly, it has a skilled workforce ready, willing and able to deliver the next generation of nuclear power. Imagine a Teesside that leads the world in industrial innovation, drawing investment from across the globe and creating jobs for the rest of this century for our children and our grandchildren.
We ask ministers to imagine that with us. We look to them to recognise Hartlepool’s unique potential, designate this site for advanced nuclear development for industrial decarbonisation, and back it with funding. We ask them to show the same vision we had decades ago when we built Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station and renew that contribution to the community, the region and the country for generations to come.
Lincoln Hill is the NIA’s Director of Policy and External Affairs.