The UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has approved the periodic safety review of the safety case for the country's only pressurised water reactor, Sizewell B, allowing it to operate until 2025.
A Periodic Safety Review (PSR) is carried out every 10 years at all nuclear power stations in the UK. This process looks back at the operation of the station over the last decade and looks forward at processes to manage safe operations for the next ten years. The review also looks at the experiences of other nuclear stations around the world to see if lessons can be learned.
"It takes five years of planning and 200 people from within and outside the business to scrutinise every area of Sizewell B to ensure it meets current standards of operation," explained Jim Crawford, Sizewell B Station Director.
EDF Energy, which operates the plant, said that the PSR is the second to be carried out at Sizewell B. "The PSR highlighted opportunities for improvement which will be programmed into the station's enhancement plans. This work will form of the maintenance tasks carried out every18months when the station is brought offline to refuel," it said.
Sizewell B started operations in 1995, and the station is already working on the case for the next ten years of operation at Sizewell, which will take it up to the design life in 2035. In 2013, EDF Energy expressed its aim to extend the life for an additional 20 years to 2055.
Sizewell B has generated 173 TWh of low carbon electricity from commissioning to the end of 2014. This has saved over 117 million tonnes of CO2e which is equivalent to taking all of the passenger cars off UK roads for 1.8 years, EDF said.
Photo: Sizewell B (Credit: EDF Energy)