Sizewell B brought back into service in Southwold area
Sizewell B power station at Sizewell, near Southwold, was brought safely back into service yesterday after a successful refuelling outage.
The refuelling outage has seen an additional 1,200 specialist workers on site who have assisted Sizewell B staff complete about 14,000 maintenance tasks in addition to refuelling the reactor.
Plant operators EDF Energy say one of the key achievements during the refuelling outage was the safe replacement of 74 heaters in the pressuriser based in the station's landmark white dome.
During the re-commissioning programme the station's complex protection and back up systems were also fully tested.
Further work was carried out by a specialist team of engineers from France who were brought in to replace the internal equipment in the reactor coolant pump, another key part of the site.
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Completion of such important maintenance tasks helps to ensure continuous delivery of power to more than two million homes and businesses until the next planned refuelling outage in 2013.
Jim Crawford Sizewell B Station Director said: 'The work our staff and contracting partners have safely achieved during this outage is outstanding.
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'We committed to replace the heaters in our pressuriser within the next two refuelling outages but have safely accomplished this during just one. 'By successfully completing some 14,000 maintenance tasks we further improve the performance of Sizewell B which is already recognised as a world class nuclear power station.'
The power station is brought offline to refuel every 18 months and staff take the opportunity to carry out a number of maintenance projects on the site at the same time.
EDF Energy says it is committed to working with local companies wherever possible and during this latest refuelling outage 25 local suppliers were able to take a share of contracts with a combined value of up to �3m, including welding and machinists J T Pegg & Sons from Aldeburgh and precision engineering experts H W Webb Engineering from Bungay.
Sizewell B has been generating enough power for more than 2 million homes since it started operating in February 1995.
The station employs over 500 staff and 250 contractors to generate power for 3pc of the UK's electricity needs. It has saved an estimated 67 million tonnes of CO2 during its 16 years in operation.