The centre is designed to capture the imagination of children and adults alike with hands-on displays and guided tours of the power station.
EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz and local MP Damian Collins launched the new centre which is on the Dungeness B site in Kent. It is the fifth of seven planned centres to be opened by EDF Energy and is part of the company’s commitment to increase openness at its nuclear power stations across the UK.
The timing of the opening is particularly significant for the area as Dungeness B marks 30 years of low carbon generation later this year. The station has generated power for 1.5million homes since 3 April 1983.
Vincent de Rivaz said: “EDF Energy enjoys strong support from the local community around Dungeness B and we are committed to being as open as possible here and at all our nuclear power stations in the UK. Opening the Learning Centre is an important milestone for us. It will enable thousands of people from the local community and beyond to see nuclear power and to learn about how we safely generate low carbon electricity for 1.5million homes.”
Damian Collins MP said: “Dungeness B continues to play a vital role in the economy of Romney Marsh. This new centre is an excellent way of connecting local residents and visitors to the working life of the power station, and also increasing understanding of the importance of nuclear power to our energy infrastructure.”
Dungeness B Station Director Martin Pearson said: “We hope the Dungeness B Learning Centre will inspire young people about science, technology and engineering. It will let science teachers hold their lessons in a nuclear power station for the first time in more than a decade.
“The country needs young people to develop an enthusiasm for science which might one day turn into a career here at Dungeness and that enthusiasm starts with experiences like this.”
“Since we announced our plans, we’ve been inundated by requests from local people keen to learn more about our station. This Learning Centre will allow us to introduce people to our operation in a safe, informative and attractive environment and we expect many thousands of visitors through the doors.”
Sustainability has been at the heart of the development of the centre. It was decided to cut carbon emissions by refurbishing an existing building rather than creating a new one. Furthermore, features were incorporated to minimise the impact of the building on the environment and landscape, including a rainwater harvesting system, using reclaimed material for access ramps and walkways around the centre and using lighting which reduces light pollution. An electric car charging point will also mean that eco-friendly travellers can leave their vehicle on charge while they tour the power station.
The Learning Centre will normally be open Monday-Friday from 9-4pm. The majority of the tours will be organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public will also be able to attend by appointment.
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 book a visit the public can contact the station via: dungenessBtours@edf-energy.com or call 01797 343728.