“Since finishing my apprenticeship in September 2013, I’ve worked as a mechanical technician at Hartlepool Power Station. Currently I’m in the reactor group where I work on the gas circulators in the maintenance facility – as well as maintaining the fire system, carbon dioxide plant and other areas within the radiologically controlled area.”
Contributing to a crucial project
“While still an apprentice, I worked as part of a group to repair an R2 reactor gas pre-cooler. I helped the engineers return the plant to service in a safe, efficient condition. I was also involved in the preparation phase before the job started – which was important to ensure the project ran as smoothly as possible.”
Positive knock-on effects
“We were also able to take steps to stop any problems happening again and then share the findings across all our sites so the other sites could improve their systems and make alterations if necessary.”
“Working collaboratively like this increases plant efficiency and makes our systems even safer. It was great to be involved in such an important project, especially as it gave me experience of a system I’d not worked on before. After the repair I felt all our efforts had been worthwhile – and it was particularly good to know the plant was going to be returned to service in a safer state.”
- Sam Jones, Mechanical Technician
“My team is responsible for helping managers of EDF Energy’s nuclear power plants comply with the legal requirements of operation and decommissioning. We work with lots of people within EDF Energy, plus government and industry regulators, on effective and consistent planning.”
Planning a long way ahead
“By law, every nuclear operator in the UK must have a detailed decommissioning plan for its reactors. The plan covers all the necessary commercial and technical activities to safely decommission the plant after it has finished generating electricity and to manage the resulting waste. These activities can last for up to 100 years.
After three years of work, we gained approval from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in their capacity as agent of Government, for our decommissioning plans for all our nuclear plants. The plans cover the safe and effective consolidation and storage of radioactive waste in preparation for final disposal – and show how our nuclear power generation sites can quickly be returned to other uses safely, and without restrictions.”
A significant achievement
“Having our decommissioning plans approved shows EDF Energy complies with its nuclear generation and decommissioning responsibilities, and can manage the associated wastes and liabilities safely and effectively. It’s a great achievement for the Nuclear Liabilities Group as a whole, and for me personally.”
On 11 August 2014, after discovering a crack on a boiler spine at Heysham 1, EDF Energy announced Heysham 1 and Hartlepool (which is
of a similar design) would shut down for boiler inspections. The company devised a detailed boiler inspection programme involving more than
2,700 Vessel Entries (instances of workers entering the reactor vessels). On 10 January 2015, the Office of Nuclear
Regulation gave the go-ahead to resynchronise Heysham 1 reactor 1 to the grid.
“I work as an Accredited Health Physicist at Heysham 1. This involves providing risk assessment and advice on working with radiation on site.
“The most critical jobs on the station involve a greater radiation or contamination risk, so I get involved with the most interesting work across the
“I was involved with the Vessel Entry campaign as part of the 1D1 Boiler Spine outage. This provided me with great experience, enabling me
to enter the reactor vessel and see first-hand what it is like to work inside a reactor.”
- Joseph Taylor, Accredited Health Physicist
EDF Energy is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity. We produce about a fifth of all the country’s electricity – and alongside wind, coal, gas, and combined heat and power, our nuclear fleet supplies a significant portion of that power. We own and operate 15 nuclear plants at eight nuclear
power stations in the UK. Every year, to support our nuclear fleet, we hire approximately 50 graduates through nine different science and engineering schemes.
“The EDF Energy graduate scheme has offered me and others a chance to experience the company’s activities and the many roles it has to offer.
“My current role as a nuclear graduate plays a direct part in ensuring that we continue to operate our nuclear power stations with the highest levels of responsibility and nuclear safety.
“I enjoy the fact that I am able to use the skills I have learned at university to make a valuable contribution to the business.”
- Anik Abdullah, Nuclear Graduate