Dungeness B Site Stakeholder Group Report June 2020
Station Director’s Message
When I took over as Station Director late last year, there was still a lot of work to be done before Dungeness B returned to service, which included getting our people as well as our plant ready to become operational once again.
I was not, as indeed no-one was, anticipating the kind of challenges that Covid has posed to the country in the past few months.
These have been unprecedented times and I would first like to pay tribute to all those who have continued working to return Dungeness B to service during this extraordinary period.
At EDF we have a tried and trusted plan for how we respond to a pandemic. It is a further demonstration of how seriously we take the safety and wellbeing of our teams and any possible threat to our ongoing operations.
By working to this plan since the early part of the year we have minimised the impacts of Covid-19 at Dungeness B. Our pandemic response included the introduction of social distancing on site, changes to work patterns and routines to minimise physical contact between personnel and to reduce the number of people on site at any one time.
We have also stayed in close contact with our contract partners, colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and our regulators to ensure that those who need access to our site can continue to do so whenever they need it.
This period has undoubtedly posed a significant challenge, but I am proud of the way that Dungeness B, and those we work closest with, have risen to that challenge. It is testament to the dedication of all those who work here.
Of course we know all too well that, as the experts tell us, there’s a long way to go before we return to any kind of ‘normal’. But over the coming weeks we will, as Government changes the rules around lockdown, review what we are doing, look carefully at who needs to be on our site and make changes as and when appropriate.
For the time being we will continue to enforce our robust mitigations whilst working to return Dungeness B to operational service.
On 27th August 2018 Dungeness B shut down Reactor 22 for its planned statutory outage. On 23rd September 2018 Reactor 21 was also shut down for the planned double reactor outage.
This has been one of the station’s busiest periods of maintenance for many years, with employees and specialist contractors carrying out a huge amount of technical tasks. The work has included a significant programme of main steam pipework inspections and defect removal. This has run in parallel to a programme of enhanced inspection and remediation of back-up systems susceptible to the effects of environmental corrosion.
All of the work that is happening on the station must be underpinned by a comprehensive safety case that demonstrates the station’s ability to produce safe, reliable generation. A safety case analyses all possible scenarios and demonstrates that all defects have been removed. Our reactors will only be returned to service when we are satisfied that it is safe to do so.
This work is now nearing completion and our latest forecasting gives us return to service dates of 11th September for Reactor 22 and 21st September for Reactor 21.
There have been no environmental events at Dungeness B since our report in January.
We measure our safety performance against industry top tier indicators, including nuclear reportable events, environmental events and staff and contract-partner recordable injuries. There have been no lost time events recorded at Dungeness B since our report in January.
Apprentices / Recruitment
Exciting opportunities in the nuclear sector were on show when EDF attended a county-wide careers fair. Each year four MPs from Kent stage an enormous jobs fair in Maidstone. Dungeness B sent along station guide Attia Tariq, third year C&I apprentice Emily Arnold and third year electrical apprentice Tom Wrout and they caught up with Chatham MP Tracey Crouch. Over the course of the day, they spoke with dozens of youngsters eager to learn more about working in the nuclear industry.
In recent weeks EDF has donated PPE to local healthcare facilities. In April the station gave the Orchard House GP surgeries group 1,000 facemasks to help protect staff dealing with patients.
Youngsters learn to become lifesavers
In February first-aid trained staff from Dungeness B showed a class of primary school pupils the basics of live saving. Russell Minns, a Deputy Team Leader in Operations and David Amos, a System Engineer, spent time with a class of Year 6 pupils from Lydd Primary School to talk them through the basics of first aid. Thanks to the training the youngsters could carry out a primary survey, put a patient into the recovery position and administer CPR.
MPs visit Dungeness B
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins visited Dungeness B to meet Station Director John Benn (both pictured below) in February. During several hours on the plant, Damian saw for himself the scale of improvement work completed at the station over the past 18 months.
A week later Rye and Hastings MP Sally-Ann Hart was onsite seeing how much has been undertaken at Dungeness B since the reactors were shut down in 2018.
On 23rd March EDF restricted access to the Dungeness Estate as part of its intention to protect residents by minimising the number of people visiting the area. Throughout lockdown people generally avoided visiting the Estate though increases in attempted visits during spells of pleasant weather were noted. The Estate was reopened on 29th May.
In late March the Art Fund confirmed it had hit the fundraising target it had set to purchase Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage on the Estate. The charity has long term plans for the property. EDF has been in touch with the charity and will provide it with advice and guidance to help minimise any potential impacts on the Estate.