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Nuclear power station is back on - after nine weeks out of action

PUBLISHED: 12:45 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:45 05 August 2019

Work taking place in the Sizewell B turbine Hall during the outage for maintenance of the nuclear power station Picture: EDF ENERGY

Work taking place in the Sizewell B turbine Hall during the outage for maintenance of the nuclear power station Picture: EDF ENERGY

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Sizewell B has been switched back on after being off-grid for more than nine weeks for refuelling and important maintenance work.

The reactor dome of Sizewell B Nuclear Power StationThe reactor dome of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station

The nuclear power station stopped generating electricity at the end of May as 1,200 specialist workers joined the 800 workers on site for the £60million outage project.

The station is brought offline every 18 months where a third of the fuel is replaced in the reactor and thousands of maintenance jobs are completed during this work period.

As well as refuelling the reactor at Sizewell B, workers completed 15,000 maintenance tasks at the power station.

Significant pieces of work carried out included maintenance and inspection of the rotor on turbine generator 2. The incredibly powerful turbines spin 3,000 times a minute to power each of the two generators at the station, which provides enough electricity for around 2.5million homes.

The turbines were turned off one at a time a couple of days apart.

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. The plant had a run of 485 days of continuous electricity production before the latest outage.

Summertime is generally chosen for such work because that is when the country uses less electricity.

An EDF Energy spokesman said Sizewell B had started generating power again at 10.28am today.

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A number of Suffolk and Norfolk firms are benefitting from the maintenance with among those receiving contracts being HW Webb Engineering, of Bungay, supplying components; CLS Global Solutions, of Great Yarmouth, providing pipework fabrication; Tecflo, of Great Yarmouth, providing pipework and fittings; and SSCS, of Great Yarmouth, supplying lifting equipment.

Sizewell B is worth £40m to the local economy.

Sizewell B plays a vital role in helping the country meet its Zero Target commitments and last year alone saved 3million tonnes of Co2 emissions which is the equivalent of taking 1.3m cars off UK roads for a year.

Alongside renewables and other nuclear stations, Sizewell B's reliable supply will play an increasingly important role in helping the UK reach net-zero emissions as unabated fossil fuels like coal and gas are retired from power production.

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