One of two nuclear reactors Dungeness B power station will be shut down for a period of planned maintenance on the reactor and machinery, including the turbine which generates electricity.
This happens every three years at the power station and is known as an “outage”. It gives engineers the opportunity to carry out a number of improvement projects on the site at the same time. The other reactor and turbine will continue to generate low carbon electricity.
The outage is the culmination of two years of meticulous planning. More than 12,000 separate pieces of work are scheduled to be completed, with a total spend of £25 million. Major plant investment projects include the inspection of the turbine rotors and a programme to inspect the fuel channels on the reactor.
Martin Pearson, Dungeness B station director said: “This is a huge programme of works which will help to ensure Dungeness B can continue to operate, providing jobs and contributing to the local economy. The significant investment from the company shows EDF Energy’s confidence in the future of Dungeness B. Our staff and contractors have worked extremely hard in the planning process and are geared up to deliver the last major project before we make a decision on extending the operating life of the plant beyond 2018.”
Dungeness B power station has been generating enough power for more than 1.5 million homes since it started operating just over 30 years ago. Its current scheduled closing date is 2018 however EDF Energy hopes to be able to extend its life for a further ten years, to 2028. The station employs more than 550 permanent staff as well as over 200 contract partners to ensure the safe reliable generation of power.
During the outage the number of workers on site will double, with around 550 specialist workers brought in to assist Dungeness B staff with the work scheduled to be carried out whilst the station is offline.
CAPE plc has been working with Dungeness B to provide industrial services such as scaffolding and lagging for many years.
Wayne Brown, CAPE site manager at Dungeness B, said: “We have worked hard on skills and training to make sure local workers benefit from the work and we have 95 people, from the local area on the project, including 25 young people trained and given a chance to become part of the industry in the long term.”
As well as local employment, nearby firms are set to benefit from supporting the outage. This includes many hotels and bed and breakfasts hosting contractors who have been brought in for the project while they are based at the station.
Dungeness B has clocked up over 110TWh of safe generation since it connected to the grid in 1983. Last year it generated 4.76TWh of low carbon energy. Putting this into perspective this amount of power has avoided around 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 being produced, the same as taking 1.5 million (5%) passenger cars off the UK’s roads.