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Sizewell B power station comes back on line

Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk was put back into service at the weekend after planned refuelling and maintenance work.

The station, which generates enough reliable low carbon electricity to meet three per cent of the UK’s demand, is taken offline every 18 months for this work to take place.  A third of the fuel is replaced in the reactor and thousands of maintenance jobs are completed during the eight week period.

An additional 1,500 specialist workers joined the station’s 550 employees to complete the work which included major projects such as replacing the low pressure rotor on a turbine generator.

Inside the Sizewell dome the 10 year routine inspection of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) was completed and all four steam generators examined.  Specialist robotic equipment controlled by skilled engineers was used to complete this work.

EDF Energy confirmed that the RPV met its strict safety requirements and following the inspections, the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation confirmed that it was satisfied with the integrity of the pressure vessel. The ONR also said it had reviewed reports that demonstrate Sizewell B RPV dome is not affected by a carbon segregation issue, subject of scrutiny at France's Flamanville nuclear plant.

During the inspections, EDF Energy was able to independently confirm that Sizewell B is not affected by issues under investigation at Areva's Creusot Forge in France.   Areva subsequently confirmed that no parts under investigation from the forge had been supplied to Sizewell B.  

Paul Morton, Sizewell B Station Director, said: “Sizewell B employees and contractors have skilfully completed over 13,000 tasks as well as refuelling the reactor during the shutdown.
“The extra contractors brought valuable business to local hotels and B and Bs whilst local suppliers helped us complete the programme of works.”

Contracts were awarded to dozens of UK firms to assist with the work taking place.  In Suffolk and Norfolk companies such as Tecflo in Great Yarmouth, J.T. Pegg & Sons in Aldeburgh and LEC Marine in Lowestoft, once again joined Sizewell B employees to complete work at the power station.

EDF Energy

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies and the largest producer of low-carbon electricity, producing around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear power stations, wind farms, coal and gas power stations and combined heat and power plants. The company supplies gas and electricity to over 5 million customer accounts and is the biggest supplier of electricity by volume in Great Britain.

EDF Energy’s safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity. EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear plants, subject to the right investment framework.

These new plants could generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain’s homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Better Energy Ambitions, EDF Energy has developed one of the biggest environmental and social programmes of any British energy company.

In 2014 EDF Energy received seven ‘Big Ticks’ in the Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Awards. In 2013 EDF Energy received the Environmental Leadership for Behavioural Change Award in the national Environment and Energy Awards and was highly commended in the first ever pan European Corporate Social Responsibility Awards scheme for its Sustainable Schools programme – the Pod.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. The company employs around 14,000 people at locations across the UK.

To find out more about the UK's energy challenges look at www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/