April 1983 signalled the start of a new era of nuclear generation for the UK and Dungeness B power station, the first Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) to be built in the UK, marks 30 years of safe generation.
Martin Pearson, Dungeness B station director, met with forty-seven members of staff who have been with the industry for 30 years to share lunch and hear their memories about connecting Dungeness B to the national grid.
Power station staff were also taken back to 1983 when they were greeted by the Dungeness B leadership team at the station gates this morning (3 April) with copies of the original company newsletter the ‘Dungenews’. The station newsletter proudly announced that the station was ‘on load’ and synchronised to the grid at 14.23hours on 3 April 1983.
Speaking in the recently opened station Learning Centre, Martin Pearson told the longest serving staff at the station: ‘Marking 30 years of safe generation is a great achievement for Dungeness B and you should all feel proud of your individual efforts in helping to make the station what it is today – a great place to work which brings employment and investment into the local economy and generates power for over 1.5million homes. Dungeness B is a special place which has links with so many people on the Romney Marsh and beyond and you play an important role in keeping those links alive.”
Nick Swann, one of the original members of the team that connected Dungeness B to the grid, was a trainee desk engineer at the time and is now an operations services engineer. Speaking about his thoughts on 3 April 1983 Nick said: “Bringing Dungeness B on line was a major undertaking as it was the first of a new generation of power stations. I can remember we worked long hours giving up time with our families to get to that point but it was a momentous occasion.”
Dungeness B power station
Dungeness B power station employs over 500 staff and 200 contractors. The station prides itself on providing world class training and developing skills that will last a lifetime. As part of that, Dungeness B will be taking on six apprentices onto a four-year Advanced Nuclear Apprentice Scheme this year, in addition to the 27 apprentices currently employed at the station.
The station recently opened a learning centre which is a facility for schools and the wider community to use to learn more about the station and nuclear power. The new learning centre opened its doors at Dungeness B power station on 15 February and has already attracted almost 400 visitors. Last week Dungeness B started public tours of the power station which was met with much excitement from Brenzett Primary School; the first school to be given a station tour since the new learning centre opened.
EDF Energy hopes to extend the operating life of Dungeness B power station by up to 10 years which is in line with our plant lifetime strategy announced in February 2012. For Dungeness the decision to extend its operating life is due to be made by the end of 2014 and would mean that the station would operate until 2028.