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Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has visited Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station during a major £60million project which has seen an extra 1,000 people working on the site.

The EDF Energy nuclear plant began its planned shutdown for vital improvements in January and, during the project, staffing numbers more than doubled from its usual 750 full-time employees.

The power station has been part of the local economy since construction began in the 1970s and contributes around £40million in wages into the local economy each year.

It produces enough low-carbon electricity each year to power two million homes and undergoes a maintenance shutdown every three years.

The Mayor met Hartlepool power station director Craig Dohring. Mr Dohring took him through some of the renovations that have been made, including the replacement of its steam powered turbines.

Mayor Houchen said: “Hartlepool Power Station is a vital asset to our region. It has been incredible to see the level of work that goes on at the power station.

“It supports and engages many local businesses and services. In taking on apprentices and mentoring young people, it has proved invaluable in inspiring and educating students. Promoting engineering and demonstrating the potential for excellent jobs in the sector will help to shore up local talent in the future.”

Mr Dohring added: “It was great that the Mayor could take time out of his busy schedule to visit us here at the power station especially as we were in a full maintenance shutdown.

“The shutdowns happen every three years and they are a real boost economically for the area as we see around 1,000 more people working on site for the duration of the work, which this time has been around two months.

“It was interesting to get his views on the role of Mayor across the combined authorities. And to see that we have similar goals with his on issues such as maintaining the area’s economic strengths and also encouraging our young people to stay and thrive in the Tees Valley area, working in high quality jobs.”