Letter to the Torness Local Liaison Committee - 24 Feb 2022
24 February 2022
Dear LLC member
New station director at Torness power station
As a member of our community, I believe it is important to keep you updated on any developments at Torness power station so I wanted to write to you and let you know about some management changes at the site.
Tam Al Bishawi has accepted the Commissioning Programme Director (Plant Director Designate) role at Hinkley Point C, the new nuclear station we are building in Somerset. I know Tam leaves Torness with mixed feelings having spent much of his career here since joining the company as a graduate trainee in 2004.
Tam’s departure has given me the opportunity to return to Torness, this time as Station Director. I was involved in the commissioning of the station back in the 1980s and have worked here in various roles.
While I have spent much of the last decade working at Hunterston B, most recently as Station Director, my family home has been in Dunbar for more than 20 years.
I am returning to the station as we bring one of our reactors back online. Reactor 1 came back online recently following a month long graphite inspection outage.
Since the station first started making electricity in 1988, it has produced almost 280 Terawatts hours of zero-carbon electricity. To put that huge amount into context, that means Torness alone has produced enough electricity to power every home in Scotland for 28 years. Total UK power consumption is about 300 Terawatts per year.
Inspections, modelling and operational experience tell us this with this amount of generation we can expect to start seeing some of the changes to the graphite reactor cores that we have been talking to you about for the past few years. In December, we changed the station’s expected end of generation date to 2028 to reflect this.
During the recent inspection of Reactor 1, we identified three keyway root cracks (KWRC). This was well within our expectations and we have a safety case, supported by the independent regulator, which allowed the reactor’s return to service.
We understand this issue well. We observed the first KWRC at Hunterston B back in 2014 and the station continued to operate until 7 January this year. During that time, we carried out extensive inspections which helped us to build a clear picture of the natural aging these stations experience. We have also learned from experience at Hinkley Point B in Somerset and from our sister station, Heysham 2 in Lancashire. Heysham 2 identified the first keyway root crack there last year so this discovery shows our modelling is accurate.
There is no challenge to the safe operation of the power station. We have been able to show the regulator that we can shut the station down safely in the event of an earthquake much larger than the UK has ever experienced.
We will continue to inspect both reactors regularly so that we have a clear picture of how these changes to the graphite are progressing.
I am looking forward to attending my first LLC meeting on 17th March but if you have any questions ahead of this session please feel free to ring the station on 01368 873000 and ask for our community liaison officer Ashleigh Dickson.
Torness Power Station