13 Jun 13

Sizewell B back on line

Sizewell B power station, part of EDF Energy, has been brought safely back into service today after a successful refuelling outage.

The refuelling outage has seen an additional 1,200 specialist workers on site who have assisted Sizewell B staff complete some 14,000 tasks in addition to refuelling the reactor.

Preparation work for the outage begins at least two years ahead of refuelling the reactor as part of a ten year strategic outage plan for the station. Work on site began in January with 345 tonnes of scaffolding material gradually being brought to the power station and 1,565 scaffolds safely established around the site to assist workers with the thousands of tasks to be completed on the equipment around the power station.

The turbine hall was a hive of activity with the high pressure rotor being changed on one of the two turbines and the low pressure rotors taken apart and each blade and bolt inspected by an engineer before being put back together.

A routine pressure test of the iconic dome was also safely completed which proved the integrity of containment which houses the nuclear reactor.

Jim Crawford Sizewell B Station Director said: “The work our staff and contracting partners have safely achieved during this outage is outstanding, from replacing essential pieces of equipment such as the high pressure rotor in the turbine hall through to lifting the reactor pressure vessel head off the reactor to remove and replenish the fuel, all work has been completed safely and to the highest standards.”

The Sizewell B visitor centre will reopen for tours next week. 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 sizewellbtours@edf-energy.com.

Refuelling at Sizewell B

The power station is brought offline to refuel every 18 months and staff take the opportunity to carry out a number of maintenance projects on the site at the same time.

EDF Energy is committed to working with local companies wherever possible and during this refuelling outage at Sizewell B a number of local firms were awarded contracts including H W Webb Engineering from Bungay.

Work has been concentrated around refuelling the reactor, and in areas of the station such as the turbine hall. The turbine hall is an important area of the station which houses two 650MW turbine generators. Steam from the boiling water is used to drive the two turbines, each of which is mechanically connected to electrical generators to produce enough electricity to power over 2 million homes.

Sizewell B has been generating enough power for over 2 million homes since it started operating in February 1995. The station employs over 500 staff and 250 contractors to ensure the safe reliable generation of power for 3% of the UK’s electricity needs and has saved an estimated 95 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions during its 18 years in operation.