17 Nov 15

Chemistry students take a look inside nuclear power station labs

Chemistry A-Level students from Suffolk had a science lesson with a difference thanks to Sizewell B.

The students from Alde Valley Academy in Leiston were given special access to the Sizewell B chemistry laboratories where they could meet some of the scientists at the power station.

The 16-19year olds had not been in a real working laboratory before so it was a chance to put their lessons to the litmus test.

Amy Cooper and Mark Halpin from the Sizewell B Chemistry team gave the students an insight into the workings of the lab.  Mark said: “Chemistry is involved in every area of the power station so it was great to show the students how we use science in the workplace.”

The Sizewell B scientists showed the students how the laboratories they visited are connected to the power station turbine hall so that they can carry out the most accurate analysis and test some of the most critical equipment on site.  The students then went on a tour of the power station so they could trace the tests to the equipment used on site.  

Jim Crawford, Sizewell B station director graduated in 1979 from Strathclyde University with a degree in Chemistry and was awarded an MBA in 2001.  Speaking about the visit Jim said: “I was very pleased to give the Alde Valley A level students special access to our chemistry labs – I think seeing is believing and I hope the visit gave them a good insight into the working life of a scientist.”

Keith Howard, Senior Science Technician at Alde Valley Academy said: “The students were amazed by the complexity of the power station and how science is used across the site.  Before the visit they probably wouldn’t have considered the range of chemistry tests that are carried out here.”

The visit builds on the field trip EDF Energy’s Sizewell C team gave the Alde Valley science students last month.  A group of seven Post 16 students got to meet an ecologist working for Sizewell C at Aldhurst Farm, the site for a new wetland habitat creation scheme associated with the Sizewell C project. They didn’t just watch – the students got down on their hands and knees to examine and test the different layers of the soil before planting the first reed beds which will form an important feature of the new wetland habitat.

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 6 million business and residential 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 15,000 people at locations across the UK.

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