10 Oct 14

Hundreds of extra workers at Sizewell B for £60m planned refuelling and maintenance project

Sizewell B nuclear power station will be taken out of service on Sunday (12 Oct) for planned refuelling and maintenance work worth £60m. .

An extra 1,200 specialist workers will join the Sizewell workforce and provide a boost to the area’s hotels and businesses. During the six week period they will carry out 13,000 separate pieces of work which have been carefully planned during the last two years.

These maintenance periods known as “outages” take place every 18 months and are planned in advance with the National Grid to ensure that there is no risk to national electricity supply.

The biggest projects include changing the rotors on one of the turbines which converts steam into electricity to provide low carbon power for more than 2 million homes. Work will also take place to directly connect Sizewell B with the recently constructed Emergency Response Centre at Leiston.

Local engineering firms will take their share of the massive investment, including precision engineers H W Webb Engineering from Woodton near Bungay which employs 18 people.

Managing Director Steven Webb said: “We’ve been working with Sizewell B for eight years and each year the contract seems to grow. Sizewell B is an important contract for us, not just during the outage when work at the station increases but also throughout the year. They see the value of local engineering expertise. We can deliver quality work and we’re on their doorstep.”

Jim Crawford, Sizewell B Station Director said: “EDF Energy is making a significant investment in Sizewell B to ensure the continued safe reliable generation of power at the site for decades to come. We are pleased to once again award contracts locally and make use of the engineering expertise we have in this region.”

Trainee reactor operator Katie Bannister, who joined EDF Energy through its graduate scheme, will shadow her colleagues during the outage to learn about the range of work that is carried out. Katie said: “The outage is an incredible time at the station. It is amazing to see the reactor and the internal parts of the station that I had only seen pictures before. It is great to see so many people arrive on site, including local companies and EDF Energy specialists from around the world who provide support and work together to refuel the reactor.”

Sizewell B has been generating enough electricity power for more than two million homes since it started operating in February 1995. The station employs over 550 staff and 250 contractors to ensure the safe reliable generation of power providing 3% of the UK’s electricity. It has saved the equivalent of an estimated 108 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions during its 19 years of operation.