Sizewell B switch-off marks 18 month run of low carbon electricity
Sizewell B nuclear power station will be switched off for planned refuelling and maintenance work this week, marking a run of 485 days of continuous low carbon electricity production since its last planned refuel. The station provides enough electricity for around 2.5m homes or 3% of the UK’s electricity needs.
The Suffolk plant has helped power the UK during the recent long coal-free run. Alongside renewables and other nuclear stations, Sizewell B’s reliable supply will play an increasingly important role in helping the UK reach net-zero emissions as unabated fossil fuels like coal and gas are retired. Today the International Energy Agency published a new report underlining the vital role for nuclear in making the low carbon transition possible which can be found here.
EDF Energy is replacing the UK’s existing nuclear power stations by building Hinkley Point C in Somerset and has plans to build a near identical station at Sizewell C. It would save 9m tonnes of Co2 a year and deliver power to 6m homes.
Boost for local business
Sizewell B is worth £40m to the local economy and this is boosted during refuelling and maintenance work as contracts are awarded to local companies such as H W Webb Engineering from Woodton near Bungay, will once again join Sizewell B employees to complete work at the power station.
An additional 1,200 specialist workers will join the station’s 800 workers to refuel and maintain Sizewell B. As well as refuelling the reactor at Sizewell B, workers will complete 14,000 maintenance tasks at the power station. Significant pieces of work being carried out include replacing the rotor on turbine generator 2. The incredibly powerful turbines spin 3,000 times a minute to power each of the two generators at the station.
Paul Morton, Sizewell B Station Director said: “The start of refuelling brings an end to 485 days of uninterrupted low carbon power supply generated by the station. That’s a great achievement only made possible by teamwork at the station and investment by the company.
“With the climate change crisis at the top of the agenda, Sizewell B’s workers can be proud of the contribution they are making to a future without polluting fossil fuels.”
About refuelling and maintenance at Sizewell B
Sizewell B has one reactor and two turbine generators which produce enough power for 2.5million homes and businesses. The turbines will be turned off one at a time with the first shut down on 29 May and the next on 31 May.
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.
The station is brought offline every 18months for this work to take place. A third of the fuel is replaced in the reactor and thousands of maintenance jobs are completed during the 7 week period.
Firms in Suffolk and Norfolk awarded contracts for Sizewell’s refuelling and maintenance work include:
- H W Webb Engineering - Bungay - Components
- CLS Global Solutions - Great Yarmouth - Pipework fabrication
- Tecflo - Great Yarmouth - Pipework and fittings
- SSCS - Great Yarmouth - Lifting equipment
Other firms in the UK awarded contracts for Sizewell’s refuelling and maintenance work include:
- Doosan Babcock - Mechanical work, welding and remote inspection work
- Applus - Inspection work
- Altrad - Access and insulation work
- Weirs - Specialist valve and pump services
- GE - Turbine maintenance
- Workplace solutions - Facilities and services management
- James Fisher Marine - Offshore divers