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Babcock expertise helps Sizewell B to recommence generation

04 November 2010

Babcock made a significant contribution to bringing Sizewell B power station back online last month, and the station is again generating enough low carbon electricity to serve two million homes. EdF Energy took the decision to bring Sizewell B offline in March following the failure of some heaters in the pressuriser.

Jim Crawford, Sizewell B Station Director, said: “Bringing Sizewell B back online was a team effort between our own staff, those from the wider EdF group and our contracting partners such as Babcock." 

Throughout this project, Babcock worked as a Tier 2 supplier to AREVA, which is a Tier 1 supplier to EdF.  The Babcock team assisted in the defuelling and refuelling of the reactor alongside the AREVA US team.  The Babcock team also operated the means of entry for tools and equipment into the containment area – the Equipment Access Hatch - while their expert Control and Instrument technicians supported radwaste operations around the clock.

Yvan Lohr, AREVA site manager, explained: “One element of the return to service activities involved a highly skilled, Babcock team working in cramped conditions to fit 78 strain gauges onto the heater elements. They specified the method of fitting, devised equipment to assist in swift installation, and spent many hours practising the operation on the full scale mock-up in order to achieve success with the minimum dose uptake.”

While the outage and repair work was being carried out, the opportunity was taken to bring forward work scheduled for later outages, such as the replacement of worn parts of the polar crane, which was carried out by Babcock’s specialist crane team.  Using the time taken to repair the pressuriser so efficiently can help towards reducing the length of future outages, minimising the loss of generation. Babcock will continue to support AREVA and EdF Energy in future refuelling outages, identifying process efficiencies and improvements wherever possible.

The work carried out on repairs has been regularly monitored by the industry regulator, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  After a significant programme of inspections and assessments, the HSE Nuclear Directorate gave its consent for the power station to restart and re-sychronised to the grid.

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