By Craig Robinson
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
WORK has started on a radioactive waste store at a nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast.
Construction experts are now on site at Sizewell B, with the building expected to be complete in around two years time.
All the spent fuel from the power station’s nuclear reactor is currently stored under water in a special pond. However, this is expected to reach capacity in 2015.
The new dry fuel store will provide capacity for the lifetime of the power station or until a deep geological disposal facility is available.
EDF Energy was forced to revise its plans after large amounts of concrete - legacy foundations from Sizewell A’s construction - were discovered buried on the site. For work to proceed this has to be removed – increasing expected HGV movements from 2,862 to 6,771
To help with this the company is investing £200,000 on road improvements for the main route between Yoxford and Sizewell, along which most construction traffic is expected to come. This work is being carried out by Suffolk County Council and is due to be complete by July.
Jim Crawford, Sizewell B’s station director, said: “This is an important major development, which will ensure we have the ability to continue to store our spent fuel, safely and securely, on site for many years to come.
“While we are trying to minimise the impact the work will have on our neighbours, we recognise that a construction project of this size will put pressure on the local road network.”
Final planning permission for the dry fuel store was granted by Suffolk Coastal District Council in September last year.
The beginning of work also marks a milestone for the Amenity and Accessibility Fund (AAF), which is designed to improve access and use of the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The fund was started to off set the impact of the dry fuel store’s construction, which will cause a delay to restoring part of the Sizewell B site in line with the surrounding AONB.
Local projects that demonstrated they were of benefit to the AONB were invited to apply for a share of an initial £120,000 worth of funding.
EDF Energy has now officially released that money, with further annual payments of £20,000 to follow, for which any one apply so long as they can demonstrate their project has a direct link to improving the accessibility of the AONB or they conserve or enhance the local amenity.
For more information visit www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org.