25 Jul 14

5000th visitor to Sizewell B is top of the class!

Sizewell B has welcomed its 5000th visitor to the power station since opening its doors to the public 18 months ago.

The milestone is marked as a new poll showed that 73 per cent of people living around Sizewell said they agreed that nuclear power was needed as part of the energy balance. The poll of 750 people by ICM was commissioned by EDF Energy as part of its pledge to be as open and transparent as possible with its nuclear plans

A class of 36 nuclear energy experts from the World Nuclear University (WNU) helped the station reach the milestone. The group of up and coming nuclear leaders in their fields came from across the globe including a reactor safety manager at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden through to a nuclear engineer from Argentina.

Cecile Marie a Chemist for the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, the CEA said: “I am really interested to look around Sizewell B, particularly as this is the first pressurised water reactor I have visited.”

Ellen Sundin, reactor safety manager at Forsmark in Sweden added: “I am keen to learn about the differences between the power station I work at in Sweden and the UK PWR here at Sizewell.”

Colin Tucker, a Nuclear Safety engineer who has worked at Sizewell B for 19 years led a question and answer session with the group following their tours of the site. Colin was accompanied by some of the thirty Sizewell B STEM Ambassadors who visit schools and colleges to encourage interest in science based learning.

Niki Rousseau, Community Liaison Officer at Sizewell B said: “We are delighted to have welcomed 5,000 visitors to Sizewell B. Opening the Visitor Centre was an important milestone in our ambition to be as open as possible and we hope to inspire young people about science, technology and engineering so it is apt that the World Nuclear University should be with us today. We’ve also been inundated by requests from local schools and people keen to learn more about our station and have recruited more guides at the centre to ensure we can do just that.”

Patricia Wieland, Head of the WNU said:” It is great to be able to visit the iconic Sizewell B power station during our 6-week summer course for aspiring nuclear leaders from across the world. This visit will provide the group with a hands-on experience of the UK’s only pressurised water reactor and I am sure they will all gain much for their individual organisations.”

The group was treated to cupcakes after their tour of the power station. The tour took in a range of sights from the impressive turbine hall where power is safely generated for over 2million homes through to the diesel generators capable of supporting the power station in the event of a power failure to the site.

The World Nuclear University (WNU) is a worldwide network of educational and research institutions engaged in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It was inaugurated in 2003 under a Declaration of commitment by 32 initial participants and four founding supporters.

WNU offers a range of unique nuclear educational and training programmes around the world, organised by the WNU Coordinating Centre in partnership with members of the WNU network. By drawing on the support of industry, governments and academia, these programmes are designed to meet the training requirements of international nuclear professionals, particularly in the area nuclear leadership. As of June 2014, over 4000 participants from over 60 countries have attended WNU programmes.

WNU’s four founding members consist of two industry organisations: the World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO); and two intergovernmental organisations: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Since its inception, the WNU network has expanded to include more than 40 intergovernmental, academic and industry institutions in some 30 countries.

The visitor centre

The visitor centre has recently recruited three new guides to deal with the increase in bookings for tours of the station. There is now a team of ten guides based at the Sizewell B visitor centre ready to meet schools and the general public keen to know more about how Sizewell B safely generates enough low carbon generation for over 2million homes.

The Visitor Centre will normally be open Monday-Friday from 9-4pm. The majority of the tours will be organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public will also be able to attend by appointment.

Visitors will be given an introductory talk about how the station operates, before being given a guided tour through selected parts of the plant. To find out more and to enquire about booking a visit, contact sizewellbtours@edf-energy.com.