We are currently in a transitional phase in our energy system. By 2030, our electricity generation is expected to be predominantly nuclear along with flexible gas generation. Renewables will also play an increasing part as we contribute to EDF Group's aim to double its renewables capacity by 2030. For the near future, coal has an important role in keeping the lights on while the transition takes place. See more about our energy future.

We believe nuclear has a key part to play in the future energy mix and therefore we are working to build Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first in a new generation of nuclear power stations. We also have plans to develop Sizewell C in Suffolk, and Bradwell B in Essex along with our partners CGN. Nuclear has low running costs, produces electricity reliably and is very low-carbon. But the stations require big upfront investment to build and they produce radioactive material, which must be safely managed.

Nuclear safety is our overriding priority. The UK’s nuclear industry has an excellent safety record going back more than 50 years. Our nuclear power stations are built to the highest and most exacting international standards, and can withstand earthquakes, floods and fires. Independently regulated by the Office of Nuclear Regulation, we comply with some of the toughest nuclear regulations in the world. 

Building sustainably

Our goal is to incorporate sustainability principles and standards into our nuclear design and engineering, project processes and criteria.

It is important to understand the opportunities and impacts that can arise throughout the lifecycle of our stations. A large proportion of the impact of our nuclear stations is down to the way they are initially designed and built, and in the design and construction of modifications during their operating lives. We are therefore working to embed sustainability principles and standards into our new generation builds and other projects right from the beginning.

How we measure progress

We completed a detailed assessment of the environmental impact of the construction of the power station and all the associated developments around Hinkley Point C. We used this assessment, along with our understanding of best practice outside EDF Energy, to develop sustainability commitments for the project. These commitments  are outlined in Table 2.6 of our Development Consent Order (DCO)
 


NUCLEAR NEW BUILD

Capable of generating 3.2GW of low-carbon energy for around 60 years, our New Nuclear Build at Hinkley Point C, will sit alongside an operating nuclear power station, and one being decommissioned. The new EPR™ reactor design marks significant progress towards sustainability. It has been designed to optimise the use of nuclear fuel and to minimise the production of long-lived high-level radioactive wastes.

As well as the two reactor units and turbines, the development will include many service buildings and associated developments to reduce the environmental impact of the construction and the impact on local communities.

For example, four ‘park and rides’ and two accommodation campuses are being built to transport and temporarily house construction workers. And to reduce pressure on local roads, there will be temporary jetty and refurbished wharf to deliver 80% of aggregates by sea.


STANDARDS AND CONDITIONS

Our aim is to achieve a high standard in sustainable construction on the development site. As part of our DCO, the planning permission we received to start the build, we have committed to achieving levels of sustainability building and construction standards such as BREEAM (a sustainability standard for buildings) and CEEQUAL (sustainability standard for civil engineering projects). We have also set conditions for our supply chain partners to monitor their use of natural resources including carbon emissions and waste management and aim for continuous improvement in performance. 

How are we doing

The UK Government made its final investment decision in favour of our proposed new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C, in September 2016. Hinkley Point C is now under construction and we are delivering against our sustainability commitments on site. For example the Cannington Bypass achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating under CEEQUAL (a sustainability assessment for civil engineering projects) in 2016 and green roofs are part of the designs for the ancillary buildings on site.

With more than 600 people working on site each day. We achieved all the design and construction milestones we had planned in 2016. We have incorporated sustainability principles into how we govern our new nuclear build project at Hinkley Point and this is implemented through:

  • Providing specialist sustainability training packages and workshops for those working on the project.
  • Incorporating sustainability requirements into what we buy for the site and who we buy it from. For example, sustainable wood products.
  • Promoting the use of the Designer’s guidance to sustainability assessments for new design and modifications with the Responsible Designer (RD).
  • Monitoring, analysing and reporting on key sustainability metrics, aiming for continual improvement.
  • Recording any lessons learnt to improve and inform future projects
     

We also hold monthly meetings with environment and sustainability representatives from all our contract partners, to help us share knowledge and identify further opportunities to improve sustainability and environmental impacts site.

Safety and efficiency

Nuclear safety is our overriding priority. Our aim is to be world leaders in the field of nuclear operational excellence.

Making sure our low-carbon electricity supply and sites are secure is integral to keeping our people and our communities safe. We will continue to deliver the highest standards of nuclear safety in our existing operations and our new build projects.

We have a strong, open reporting culture and also implement international standards of best practice allowing us to continually address any improvement opportunities. This means all issues, whether nuclear reportable events or minor deviations, are reported and prioritised. We then take appropriate action to make sure they don't happen again. By learning from these incidents we can continuously improve safety and operational performance. 

Our programmes

NUCLEAR SAFETY CULTURE

Our nuclear safety policy is most effective when supported by a strong and positive nuclear safety culture. Therefore, we have worked to adopt and develop the ten traits of a healthy nuclear safety culture from the World Association of Nuclear Operators, such as taking personal responsibility for safety and having a questioning attitude.  

These strong safety processes and healthy nuclear safety cultures have also been embedded in our plans for constructing and operating our new nuclear build sites. Ten traits of a healthy nuclear safety culture from the World Association of Nuclear Operators:

  1. Personal accountability: All individuals take personal responsibility for safety.
  2. Questioning attitude: Individuals avoid complacency and continuously challenge existing conditions and activities in order to identify discrepancies that might result in error or inappropriate action.
  3. Effective safety communication: Communications maintain a focus on safety.
  4. Leadership safety values and actions: Leaders demonstrate a commitment to safety in their decisions and behaviours.
  5. Decision making: Decisions that support or affect nuclear safety are systematic, rigorous and thorough.
  6. Respectful work environment: Trust and respect permeate the organisation.
  7. Continuous learning: Opportunities to learn about ways to ensure safety are sought out and implemented.
  8. Problem identification and resolution: Issues potentially impacting safety are promptly identified, fully evaluated, and promptly addressed and corrected commensurate with their significance.
  9. Environment for raising concerns: A safety conscious work environment is maintained where personnel feel free to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination.
  10. Work processes: The process of planning and controlling work activities is implemented so that safety is maintained.

NULEAR REPORTABLE EVENTS

EDF Energy operates its nuclear power stations to high safety standards and under scrutiny from the independent UK government regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). We report any deviations to our safety standards to the ONR, however small, so they can be prioritised and addressed. Open reporting in this way is an important element of our nuclear safety culture and is positively encouraged throughout the organisation.


COLLECTIVE RADIATION EXPOSURE

We follow strict procedures to minimise and control the radiation doses our employees and contractors receive at our nuclear power stations. Additionally  anyone required to enter a radiologically controlled area is issued with an electronic personal dosemeter. This warns the wearer if their dose exceeds a pre-determined level and also allows us to record any longer term exposure.


UNPLANNED CAPABILITY LOSS FACTOR

We want our existing nuclear plants to be running safely and at their highest possible capacity to deliver the most low-carbon electricity to the UK. This measure helps us understand how effective we are in maintaining and investing in the reliability of our existing stations.

In order to maintain our fleet of stations in good working order, we have a schedule of planned plant maintenance, inspection and testing including outages that ensure the plant is always in good, safe working order and is upgraded as required. However sometimes unplanned shutdowns or reductions in generation do occur and these are implemented in a controlled way with conservative decision making applied to ensure that nuclear safety is always given the top priority. We report the daily status of our stations here.

How we measure progress

What we measure:

Nuclear Reportable Events (NRE) – the most significant of the incidents our nuclear site licence requires us to report to the Office for Nuclear Regulation. The conditions in our licence are rightly very cautious, so NREs are usually relatively minor failures in otherwise very reliable safety systems.

Collective Radiation Exposure (CRE) – the average amount of radiation each of our people is exposed to, measured in man milli-Sieverts (mSv).

Unplanned Capability Loss Factor (UCLF) – the amount of time that our nuclear stations are not running, or are running at lower capacity, because of unplanned events, therefore increasing safety risks . A low value indicates high levels of reliability which is an important measure that plant equipment is well maintained and reliably operated and there are few outage extensions. This is calculated as a percentage of the maximum output the stations could have achieved over the year. This has been identified as a key nuclear safety measure for external reporting from 2017.

Our targets:

  • Nuclear Reportable Events: 1 in 2017 : aspirational target of zero
  • Collective Radiation Exposure: 714 man-mSv (2017)
  • Unplanned Capability Loss Factor: 6% in 2017, 1% aspirational over the long term

How are we doing

2016 was a great year for nuclear safety performance, with no nuclear reportable events and continuation of our long-term trajectory of safety improvements. The new world record set by our Heysham 2 nuclear plant of 940 days of continuous operation demonstrates what can be achieved when we take a long-term view During this run, Heysham 2’s reactor has generated over 14TWh of electricity - avoiding more than seven million tonnes of carbon emissions. 
 


NUCLEAR REPORTABLE EVENTS 

In 2016 there were zero Nuclear Reportable Events. We have only had one Nuclear Reportable Event (NRE) in the last four years, which was associated with a defect in a boiler component at Heysham 1.

Please see graph below 


COLLECTIVE RADIATION EXPOSURE

Our Collective Radiation Exposure (CRE) for 2016 was 850 man-mSv – below our target of 854 man-mSv.

Our annual target for Collective Radiation Exposure changes according to the work we are doing, and the amount of reactor maintenance taking place over the year. For this reason, we use a longer term averages (for example, three-years or more when assessing trends). At the end of 2016, this average showed an overall improvement.

Our advanced gas cooled reactor (AGR) units routinely report among the lowest CRE of all the world’s operating nuclear units. The figure for our pressurised water reactor (PWR) at Sizewell B is also very low compared to the worldwide average for PWRs. This is a result of both the reactor designs and our high standards of radiological control and protection.

Please see graph below


UNPLANNED CAPABILITY LOSS FACTOR

In 2016 our Unplanned Capability Loss Factor was 5.7% (6% in 2015). This was the lowest ever and meant we could generate 65.1 TWh of low-carbon electricity over the year, our best ever operational performance and the highest output from our nuclear stations since 2003 (65.8TWh).

Please see graph below 

Nuclear Reportable Events

Note: 2013, 2015 and 2016 performance was 0 nuclear reportable events. 

Collective radiation exposure

Unplanned Capability Loss Factor

Our energy legacy

Our goal is to ensure our energy legacy is managed safely and responsibly. 

We are committed to addressing environmental, financial and stakeholder expectations. We are working to incorporate good sustainability principles and standards into the decommissioning plans that govern the end of our stations’ generating lives.

Of our eight nuclear stations, most will commence decommissioning during the 2020s. The last will be Sizewell B, currently scheduled for 2035. Generating nuclear power and the decommissioning of our stations produces radioactive waste and spent fuel. Most of this radioactive waste is low-level and can be incinerated or buried in shallow ground. The small amount of higher activity waste and spent fuel that is produced needs to be shielded from people and the environment for many years. 

Our programmes

PREPARING TO DECOMMISSION OUR NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS

Decommissioning involves removing all spent fuel and then deconstructing the site over many decades and managing the associated radioactive waste that is produced during the process. At the end of decommissioning, the power station sites will be returned to their original state, with no restrictions on their future use.

We already have Baseline Decommissioning Plans (BDP’s) for all our existing stations. These set out the strategy and associated cost estimates for decommissioning and are updated every three years. In 2016 we increased focus on the preparation works for decommissioning, preparing more detailed defueling and decommissioning plans, in advance of 2023, when we expect our first stations to end their operating lives.

The funding for the decommissioning and waste management of EDF Energy’s existing nuclear sites comes primarily from the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF), into which we have been paying for many years. This is administered by the Nuclear Liabilities Fund Trustees- independent of EDF Energy and UK Government. We will start to receive funding for the first stages of decommissioning in 2017.


DECOMMISSIONING NEW NUCLEAR STATIONS

Our Nuclear New Build teams have worked with Radioactive Waste Management Limited to show how we will safely and securely dispose of spent fuel and radioactive wastes from our new power stations, such as Hinkley Point C. The Energy Act 2008 requires the operator of a new nuclear power station to provide secure financing arrangements to meet the full costs of decommissioning and waste disposal before construction can begin.

Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear project to have a Funded Decommissioning Programme which was approved by the Government in 2015. We are proud to be setting this precedent, which ensures we are taking full responsibility for our power station from start to finish.


LONG-TERM STORAGE SOLUTIONS FOR RADIOACTIVE WASTE AND SPENT FUEL

We’re working with the UK Government, non-governmental organisations and others to develop a UK Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) as a long-term solution to radioactive waste.

The UK Government’s preferred solution, supported by EDF Energy, is to construct a single underground site known as a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). As a producer of radioactive waste and spent fuel, we contributed to the consultation on the GDF, emphasising its importance to our existing and future operations.

The Scottish Government’s policy is to store waste near the surface, near the nuclear site that produced it. We will follow this policy for our two nuclear power stations in Scotland.

We have a suite of governance arrangements to manage conventional and radioactive waste across our fleet. In the context of radioactive waste and spent fuel management, which we work to on an ALARP basis, which is one of the fundamental principles of risk management. We neither need nor want to manage risk to the point where we eliminate it, because doing so is simply not a good use of resources.

We have the following aims:

  • Reducing generated radioactive waste and optimising spent fuel
  • Effectively using the waste management hierarchy
  • Using reprocessed uranium in our existing fleet of power stations where appropriate
     

We continue to explore the options for and fund research in reusing spent fuel material in future reactor designs and also optimise end of life fuel usage for older AGRs. The safe management of radioactive waste on nuclear licensed sites in the UK is regulated by the ONR under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (as amended). Radioactive waste disposal is regulated by the Environment Agency in England and Wales and by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland.

In the UK, solid radioactive waste is classified into four categories:

  • Low Level Waste (LLW), for which a near surface disposal route exists – Including the LLW Repository at Drigg West Cumbria.
  • Intermediate Level Waste (ILW), for which no disposal route is currently available in the UK; although we continue to provide support to the Government on a long-term solution.
  • High Level Waste (HLW) is defined as radioactive waste in which the temperature may rise significantly as a result of the radioactivity, so this factor has to be taken into account in the design of storage and disposal facilities.
  • Higher Activity Waste (HAW) - this is effectively HLW, ILW and any LLW that are unsuitable for near-surface disposal.
     

Examples of LLW include: redundant equipment; waste from maintenance activities; plastic; rubble; old protective clothing from our nuclear power stations; used filters and resins. HLW results from the reprocessing of AGR fuel at Sellafield. HLW contains high levels of radioactivity which generates heat. There is no HLW stored on any EDF Energy power station. Spent nuclear fuel is not considered to be waste until a decision has been made to dispose of it.

For more detailed information and waste performance data please visit here.

 

How we measure our progress

Our zero harm ambition also applies to how we manage our waste. We aim to comply with all relevant environmental regulations, standards and other codes of practice. This is considered the minimum requirement. We have the following aims:

  • Reducing generated radioactive waste and optimising spent fuel.
  • Effectively using the waste management hierarchy which is too: avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, treat and dispose.
  • Using reprocessed uranium in our existing fleet of power stations where appropriate.
     

We also work together with EDF Group on future improvements in spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management, such as research in reusing spent fuel material in future reactor designs. For more detailed information see Our Journey to Zero Harm, that explains our nuclear safety and waste policies, management systems and historic performance.

How are we doing

​OPERATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE AND SPENT FUEL

We manage our nuclear waste under our environmental management system. We will seek to reduce the generation of all types of waste, both conventional and radioactive, to a practicable minimum. Spent fuel poses potential risks to people and the environment, so we have a suite of policies and processes in place to ensure it is dealt with safely.

For more information on our 2016 performance, please see EDF Document de Reference 2016 annual financial results (page 219).


LONG-TERM STORAGE SOLUTIONS FOR RADIOACTIVE WASTE AND SPENT FUEL

We continue to provide support to the Government regarding the proposed long-term radioactive waste solution for the UK. We support the implementation of the proposed strategy, although the rate of progress is slower than we had hoped for. The Nuclear Owners Group, of which EDF Energy is a participant, has identified the UK’s spent fuel policy as a key area for review. We are currently modelling the way we manage spent fuel to help mitigate safety and cost risks.


PREPARING TO DECOMMISSION OUR NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS

We currently have no nuclear power stations undergoing decommissioning. However, in 2015 a new organisation was established to start preparations for decommissioning.

Radioactive wastes that arise during decommissioning will either be stored or disposed of depending on the availability of appropriate disposal routes, in accordance with UK Government and Scottish Government policies. 

Our Better Energy Ambitions

Our six Better Energy Ambitions set out our short, medium and long-term goals and targets for improving our social, economic and environmental performance.

By meeting these ambitions, we will have created Better Lives, Better Experience and Better Energy - The Better Plan - in a responsible and sustainable way.