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Sizewell B taken off-line for £60million refuelling work lasting six weeks

PUBLISHED: 18:52 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:52 03 November 2017

The reactor dome of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station  Pic: PA

The reactor dome of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station Pic: PA

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Suffolk’s nuclear power station has been taken off-grid for the first time in 16 months to allow a £60million maintenance project to take place.

Sizewell B. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSizewell B. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The work at Sizewell B will provide a boost to the economy of the area – providing work for a number of companies and bringing in 1,000 specialist workers to join the station’s 550 employees to carry out the work.

The arrival of the extra workforce for the outage – expected to last around six weeks – will bring a boost to the area’s economy, helping out accommodation providers at a quiet time of year as well as providing extra income for pubs, restaurants and shops.

The shutdown is the first since June 2016 after 504 days of reliable, continuous generation of electricity at Sizewell B.

Over the next six weeks work will take place to refuel the power plant as one-third of its highly radioactive spent uranium fuel rods are removed from part of the reactor and replaced, along with a large number of other vital maintenance tasks.

Mark Gorry, EDF Energy’s Chief Nuclear Officer, said: “The Sizewell B team continue to deliver world class safety and operational results, providing much needed reliable, low carbon electricity for the UK.

“This latest operational run of 504 days was supported by targeted investment and excellent teamwork and saw the station complete a major milestone of having produced 200 billion units of electricity since commissioning.”

The station is brought offline every 18 months for an outage.

Preparation work for the outage begins at least two years ahead of refuelling the reactor as part of a 10-year strategic outage plan for the station.

Contracts have been awarded to dozens of firms to assist with the work taking place.

In Suffolk and Norfolk companies such as Tecflo in Great Yarmouth will supply pipework and fittings, JT Pegg & Sons in Aldeburgh will provide steelwork, Pirtek, Ipswich, will supply hoses and fittings, Suffolk Welding in Easton will load spreading plates, while LEC Marine in Lowestoft, will supply eletrical equipment, as they join Sizewell B employees to complete work at the power station.

Sizewell B has one reactor and two turbine generators which produced enough power for 2.5million homes last year.

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