EDF Energy has been chosen to lead a knowledge-building project that aims to better understand the range of natural hazards to be considered during the design of energy infrastructure in the UK, including nuclear power plants.
The three-year project aims to develop a framework and best practice approach to characterise natural hazards, and seeks to improve methodologies where current approaches are inefficient. The project was commissioned by the UK's Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), a public-private partnership that aims to accelerate the development of low carbon technologies, and has a budget of £500,000.
The work is due to be completed in three stages. Phase one will focus on a gap analysis. Phase two will look at developing a series of improved methodologies from the gaps identified in phase one, and phase three will demonstrate how to apply these methodologies. The latter phase will also include developing a 'how to' guide for use by project engineers.
EDF Energy will work with a consortium including the Met Office, Mott McDonald and the AIR World Wide on the project.
"This project is to build knowledge on natural hazards to inform energy infrastructure design. It also has cross-cutting elements which are relevant to multiple technologies which includes nuclear," said Mike Middleton, the ETI strategy manager responsible for the project.
"EDF Energy's capacity and capability in this field will help us to build a greater understanding of the range of natural hazards to be considered."
Since the events at Fukushima in March 2011, EDF Energy has completed in-depth reviews at its eight nuclear power plant sites. The work, which including re-evaluation of extreme natural events like earthquakes and floods, led to a programme of work to enhance resilience at all stations.
Photo: Dungeness B (where the flood defences were enhanced to withstand a 1 in 10,000 year flood)