DECC today approved an application under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for EDF Energy to construct and operate a Dry Fuel Store at the existing Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station at Leiston in Suffolk.
The new dry fuel store will be used to house unused and spent fuel, currently located in a wet storage pond on the site.
Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy, has given consent for Sizewell B to construct a dry fuel store to house spent fuel from 2015.
The application follows a six-week public consultation held by the company and a consultation period with the County and Local Authorities and Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Building work will start on the Dry Fuel Store in the summer of 2012 and is expected to take about eighteen months to construct. The building will be located on Sizewell B’s land and work will be confined to the stations existing site.
Sizewell B Station Director Jim Crawford said: “After a thorough consultation period we are pleased to be able to start work on building a new storage facility on site for spent fuel at Sizewell B. This is a mature technology that is widely used around the world to safely store spent fuel. We will keep our local community updated on the build schedule for the project and work hard to limit any impact the project may have.”
As part of the project an Accessibility and Amenity Fund has been developed to improve access to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which surrounds the existing power station. Sizewell B has won a biodiversity benchmark for the positive way the company has managed the AONB in partnership with Suffolk Wildlife Trust. This new Fund will help widen the access to the AONB.
Accessibility and Amenity Fund (AAF)
The AAF will be managed by EDF Energy, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Suffolk County Council in consultation with the AONB unit. There will be a one off payment of £100,000 made by EDF Energy into the Fund and then a further payment of £20,000 made each year.
Successful projects will be expected to further improve the environment, its natural character and sense of place of the area. It is hoped that there will also be work around broadening the access to the area.
The panel who will manage the Fund will meet once a year to make the awards, which is in line with the current AONB Grant schemes process.
Spent fuel at Sizewell B
Under the current arrangements, spent fuel from Sizewell B’s reactor is stored in a fuel storage pond, which is expected to provide capacity until 2015.
The new Dry Fuel Store will provide capacity for Sizewell B’s spent fuel from 2015 and will be located on the existing site.
This is a mature technology, tried and tested all over the world. As part of this process the spent fuel is placed within a welded metal canister, cleaned and then placed within a large concrete cask, These casks are then stored in the Dry Fuel Store.