Emergency response centre opens at Sizewell B

A new Emergency Response Centre (ERC) has opened at the Sizewell B nuclear power station. The centre contains back-up control systems to allow operators to command the station remotely if […]

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A new Emergency Response Centre (ERC) has opened at the Sizewell B nuclear power station.

The centre contains back-up control systems to allow operators to command the station remotely if necessary, as well as emergency equipment, high pressure pumps and vehicles that could be sent out in the case of an extreme event (pictured).

The work is part of supplier EDF Energy’s £180m programme to improve safety at its eight nuclear power stations in the UK.

It comes after a review of Britain’s nuclear power sector following the Fukushima disaster.

Despite finding “no fundamental safety weaknesses” in the UK’s nuclear facilities, Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Mike Weightman made a number of recommendations to improve things further.

In order to meet the these, EDF said it has given extra training to technical staff and improved its emergency command facilities and its backup equipment for cooling systems.

As the only Pressurised Water Reactor running in the UK, Sizewell B has been given its own dedicated ERC. Three regional facilities will serve EDF’s other nuclear reactors.

The centre was inaugurated by the generator’s Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz and Energy Minister Baroness Verma.

Mr de Rivaz said: “We committed as a company to respond to Fukushima in the right way and do whatever was required to ensure the continued safety and resilience of our nuclear power stations. [The] inauguration shows that we have done what we said we would do.”