Repairs still ongoing

Photograph: MIKE PAGE

REPAIR work is still continuing at a Suffolk nuclear power station – more than a month after it was forced to close as a safety precaution.

Sizewell B has been shut since the end of March when higher than normal moisture levels were detected in a containment building.

The problem is believed to have been caused by one of the heaters associated with a component known as the pressuriser.

EDF Energy, which runs the facility, confirmed yesterday that repairs are still continuing.

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In line with nuclear industry best practice, specialist inspection equipment has been built and is being used on a replica of the relevant parts of the pressuriser.

This will allow a team of experts from EDF Energy and contracting partners from Europe and America to complete the repair work.

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Using electronic remote equipment, video footage has been taken of the pressuriser which enables the company to examine parts of the component in the smallest detail.

Jim Crawford, Sizewell B station director, said: “I am pleased with the progress that has been made so far in this engineering project which will bring Sizewell B back to service.

“This work has brought together experts from across the company and from our contracting partners in Europe and the USA.”

EDF Energy has again declined to say when the power station will be back up and running as this is commercially sensitive in the electricity market within which it operates.

Bosses have also declined to say how much the shutdown of the reactor is costing the company – although it could be as much as hundreds of thousands of pounds each day.

Representatives from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency have said they are satisfied with Sizewell’s response to the incident.

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