3 Feb 15

Sizewell B safe to operate for another 10 years

The UK’s nuclear power stations have to renew their license to operate every 10 years and Sizewell B has received the regulator’s approval for continued safe operation.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has approved the Periodic Safety Review of the safety case for Sizewell B. This allows the UK’s only Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) to operate for a further 10 years.

The industry regulator confirmed Sizewell B meets its safety case to continue delivering low carbon power to over 2million customers until 2025 and the station is already working on the case for the next ten years to ensure operation to at least 2035. This is the station’s current stated lifetime although two years ago EDF Energy expressed its aim to extend its life for 20 years beyond that to 2055.

A Periodic Safety Review (PSR) is carried out every 10 years at all nuclear power stations in the UK.

The PSR is a look back at the operation of the station over the last ten years and a look forward at processes to manage safe operations for the next ten years. The review also looks at the experiences of other nuclear stations around the world to see if lessons can be learned.

This is the second PSR to be carried out at Sizewell B. The PSR highlighted opportunities for improvement which will be programmed into the station’s enhancement plans. This work will be part of the maintenance tasks carried out every 18months when the station is brought offline to refuel.

Jim Crawford, Sizewell B Station Director said: "It takes five years of planning and 200 people from within and outside the business to scrutinise every area of Sizewell B to ensure it meets current standards of operation. The team working on the project include experts from around the world to check the processes and operations at the plant. No stone is left unturned. We are pleased that the station will continue to safely generate low carbon power for over 2million customers here at Sizewell B."

Sizewell B facts and figures

  • Sizewell B started generating electricity in 1995.
  • Employs over 550 staff and 250 contractors
  • The Sizewell B nuclear reactor is the UK's only large pressurised water reactor (PWR).
  • Sizewell B is currently due to operate until 2035 but this could be extended by 20 years.
  • Sizewell B has generated 173 TWh of low carbon electricity from commissioning to the end of 2014. This has saved over 117 million tonnes of CO2e which is equivalent to taking all of the passenger cars off UK roads for 1.8 years.

EDF Energy in Scotland

In Scotland EDF Energy operates Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian which employ over 1,000 staff and around 500 contracting partners across the two power stations. EDF Energy employs a further 200 office based staff in East Kilbride.  As well as generating enough power to serve some 4 million homes the company also provides gas and electricity to over 80,000 Scottish customers with around half of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products which are backed by low-carbon generation. We operate two windfarms in the Scottish Borders and make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power up some of the largest organisations in the UK, including supplying almost all public sector bodies in Scotland with after being awarded Scotland’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume from April 2013. Following a landmark agreement with Network Rail the company also provides nuclear-backed Blue energy to power up the UKs electric rail network, covering most of the south east of England and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network.