Annual message to Dungeness Site Stakeholder Group
We will remember 2018 as a busy and challenging year at Dungeness B Power Station. In reality, it has been a year of two phases. From January through to August our underlying trend for improved performance, output and reliability was much in evidence, as we continued to move closer to world-class performance levels. And, from the end August onwards our story has been defined by a large and complex programme of maintenance work on both units 21 and 22, and the general fabric of the plant including work on corrosion and steam pipework, to allow us to ensure Dungeness B will continue to safely and reliably generate low-carbon electricity until 2028 – and possibly beyond.
Key themes for 2018 have been the amount of investment into the plant to meet those lifetime aspirations, and the hugely encouraging performance improvement. We have been running with more than 80 different projects across the plant – from improvements to boilers, a new nitrogen plant, and a major upgrade to our main control room simulator, to name but a few. We are investing in the fabric of the plant and our aspiration is to underpin our lifetime ambitions and achieve a best-ever output of 8TWh. We know with the investment, and the professionalism of our staff, that these aspirations are achievable. Total investment in the plant totalled a remarkable £98m during the year, which shows the confidence the company has in Dungeness B’s future.
The indicators are positive across the board. Our financial results in August were outstanding. Output was 5.4TWh – a full 1TWh ahead of plan, with costs below plan. But this outstanding performance has given way to one of the busiest outage periods for many years at Dungeness B. In this second phase of 2018 our people were safely carrying out more than 12,000 individual pieces of maintenance and improvement work during the outage. Much effort is also going in to steam line remedial work and corrosion repair work. Although this impacts our annual financial performance, the level of investment in Dungeness, with the full support of EDF Energy, is a clear sign of our determination to continue to produce safe, reliable generation to 2028 and beyond.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our staff and contract partners. Their attitude and commitment has been first class all year – and particularly throughout the current period of maintenance. We have been joined by some 1200 extra specialist workers during the current outage programme – and their contribution brings a significant boost to the regional economy, and we thank them too for their professionalism and positive attitude.
Despite the current shutdown, and a series of five off-line refuelling outages (all delivered ahead of time), we still successfully delivered just over 5.7 TWh of low-carbon electricity to the National Grid in 2018, more than 2017 - and enough to power 5% of UK homes. This is the equivalent of generating enough electricity for the whole of Kent more than two times over. From quarter 1 through to quarter 3 we had the lowest losses in the EDF Energy fleet, and at year end we achieved the second-best ever output in an outage year. These are all very encouraging signs.
However, safety is, and always will be our over-riding priority at Dungeness and our efforts in this area are worthy of note. Dungeness B was the biggest improver in the EDF Energy Fleet in our annual nuclear safety culture survey. We also improved significantly in our employee engagement survey results and sit ahead of other stations in this regard. As a result of continuing focus on maintaining high levels of industrial safety, which was underpinned by ongoing training and inspirational safety awareness events, our safety record remained excellent through 2018.
As always we will keep you updated on this work via updates to the SSG, along with full details of our return to service dates for both reactors when the remedial work is complete.
I look forward to 2019 as a year for continued improvements and stable output and reliability, as Dungeness B continues its trend towards world-class performance.