31 Aug 12

Hunterston B Opens its Doors to the Public

Scots are being invited to visit Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire, as it opens a high-tech visitors’ centre on Friday (31 August).

Hunterston B, near West Kilbride, is to become the first of EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations in the UK to open a Visitors’ Centre to the public. As well as offering guided tours of the operating site, the new Visitors’ Centre project aims to catch people’s imaginations and provide an introduction to the nuclear industry by using hands-on displays and interactive aides.

The new visitor centre will be officially launched by EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz and the Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP.

EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said: "We have said for some time now that openness and transparency has to be at the heart of everything we do in our nuclear and our retail business.

“We are already at the heart of the community in North Ayrshire. However, this gives us a great opportunity to engage with more and more people and listen to what they have to say and answer any questions they may have about our station, our company and the nuclear industry as a whole.

“I am delighted that Hunterston B will be the first of seven new visitor centres at all our plants in the UK. They will be an important part of our commitment to increase our engagement with the public.”

Minister for Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing said:

“The visitor centre at Hunterston will be the first of a programme of new visitor centres EDF Energy are planning to open at their power plants across the UK. I welcome EDF Energy’s commitment to openness and transparency in their work on existing nuclear power production.

“While the Scottish Government has a clear policy position against new nuclear build, we recognise that EDF Energy is a valued local employer and supports the community in which it operates.”

EDF Energy has spent months transforming the former facility, which was previously used as a training centre, into a Visitors’ Centre.

The rest of the company’s nuclear power stations will follow Hunterston B’s example when a series of Visitor Centres is opened in the coming months. EDF Energy aims to improve public accessibility at all its nuclear power stations across the UK.

“I am delighted that Hunterston B will be leading the way for our other stations and we welcome the opportunity to be able to show people how we generate safe, low-carbon electricity for over 1.4 million homes,” said Colin Weir, Hunterston B power station director.

“Since we announced our plans, we have been inundated by requests from people keen to learn more about our station. This Visitor Centre will allow us to introduce people to our operation at Hunterston B power station in a safe, informative and attractive environment.”

The Visitor Centre will normally be open every day from 9-4pm. It is expected it will attract around 3,500 visitors each year. The majority of the tours will be organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public will also be able to attend by appointment.

Visitors will be 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 01294 826008 or visit hunterstonbtours@edf-energy.com.

EDF Energy in Scotland

EDF Energy owns and operates two nuclear power stations in Scotland – Hunterston B and Torness near Dunbar in East Lothian. Between them, they employ over 1,100 people, plus around 300 permanent contractors. A further 270 people are employed in EDF Energy’s East Kilbride office in high quality engineering and professional support roles. It contributes around £86m each year in wages and salaries to staff and expenditure with key partners including Weir, Doosan Babcock and Balfour Beatty exceeded £100m last year.

Hunterston B and Torness currently generate enough power to serve over 30% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs including in homes, the public and private sector and across transport networks.

In Scotland, EDF Energy Renewables (ER) operates Longpark (38MW) in the Galashiels Borders, which entered commercial service in 2009 and Burnfoot Hill, (26MW) near Tillicoultry Clackmannanshire, which entered commercial service in 2010. Fallago Rig (144MW) in the Scottish Borders is currently being constructed, and is due to enter commercial operation in March 2013. EDF ER also has over 300MW of projects in various stages of the planning process, including an extension to the Burnfoot Hill wind farm of up to 36MW submitted by Wind Prospect Development Limited, a joint venture between EDF ER and Wind Prospect.

EDF Energy currently has more than 124,000 customer accounts in Scotland, which equates to around 50,000 customers.

From April 2013, EDF Energy will supply almost all public sector bodies in Scotland with 100% renewable electricity after being awarded Scotland’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume. The framework agreement will see EDF Energy supply an annual volume of around 2.7 TWh of electricity for three years to over 99% of Scotland’s public sector demand, across local authorities, hospitals, schools, most universities and Scottish Government buildings. Over 27,000 sites included in the deal account for roughly 10% of Scotland’s annual electricity consumption, or the equivalent of powering over 800,000 typical households each year. The procurement process scored the companies bidding for the contract on a range of factors, which included flexibility of procurement, cost, service delivery and sustainability. It reported that EDF Energy provided the most economically advantageous tender through a combination of all of these factors - notably its leading flexible purchasing product offering, management fees and a commitment to high quality service delivery and account management.