Energy Minister hears of nuclear boost to the region on visit to Sizewell B
Energy Minister Michael Fallon visited Sizewell B today to hear about the significant contribution the nuclear power station makes to energy generation in the UK and its positive work with education, business and community groups.
As part of his visit to the energy coast today the Minister asked to visit Sizewell B, the UK’s youngest nuclear power station.
During the visit the Minister met with Sizewell B Station Director Jim Crawford, Stephen Walls Head of the Sizewell C project and key groups in the community which the station and the company’s new nuclear build team work with. The group enjoyed a round table discussion on the opportunities Sizewell B and a new nuclear station bring to the region.
Leaders from Suffolk New College, Lowestoft College and University Campus Suffolk represented the education sector whilst Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Leiston Business Association spoke on behalf of the business community. Community representatives were on hand to share their views on the extensive local engagement that already takes place.
Jim Crawford, Station Director at Sizewell B, said: “EDF Energy hosted a very positive meeting with the Energy Minister and key groups in the area such as representatives from local colleges, local authorities and the business and residential community.
“We talked about the importance of nuclear generation to the region and the integral role such local groups have in ensuring we make the most of the opportunities nuclear generation offers.
“Our visitor centre, which the Minister visited today, is an important contribution to being as open as possible. We are using this facility to inspire young people about science, technology and engineering. This builds on the work our STEM ambassadors carry out with many local schools and colleges.
“By working with local colleges and schools, such as those we met with today, we want to ensure the next generation of engineers are ready for the opportunities we can offer.”
“We have 49 apprentices, the majority of whom are from local schools and colleges, working either at Sizewell B or being trained at HMS Sultan.
“The station is a key employer in the eastern region bringing some £30million pounds each year into the local economy through wages alone. Over 500 people are directly employed at the site on the Suffolk coast with a further 200 carrying out contract roles.”
Iain Dunnett from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Today was a big day for ‘All Energy Anglia’ and really showcased the opportunities on offer for businesses not just in the future but right now. We are all working together in the region to make the most of the business opportunities the energy sector brings.”
Dave Muller, Principal, Suffolk New College, said:”Suffolk New College is sponsoring Alde Valley High School in Leiston so it can become an Academy to ensure that local students can take advantage of the local opportunities on offer from the energy industry. Our role in supporting Alde Valley High to become an Academy will help ensure we have the skills in place locally to take up valuable roles using STEM subjects in the energy sector.”
Sizewell B started generating power for 2.5million homes when it was connected to ‘the Grid’ on 14 February 1995. The station is the youngest of the EDF Energy fleet and the only Pressurised Water Reactor in the UK. Over 500 staff are employed at the station with a further 200 contractors employed at the site.
It is estimated that Sizewell B has saved 95 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions which is the equivalent of keeping all cars in the UK off the road for over a year.
The station is a key employer in the eastern region bringing some £30million pounds each year into the local economy through wages alone. Over 500 people are directly employed at the site on the Suffolk coast with a further 200 carrying out contract roles.
Moreover, during a refuelling outage that number multiplies. During the 2011 refuelling outage 1,200 extra workers were brought into Sizewell B with twenty-five local suppliers taking a share of contracts with a combined value of up to £3million.
Welding and machinists J T Pegg & Sons from Aldeburgh and precision engineering experts H W Webb Engineering from Bungay were two local firms awarded contracts during the refuelling outage.
The visitor centre opened at the site in December. The Visitor Centre is open Monday-Friday from 9-4pm. The majority of the tours are organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public will also be able to attend by appointment. Visitors are 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.