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YGN Sizewell B Tour

YGN Sizewell B Tour

When the opportunity arose to visit an operational Nuclear site, organised by the YGN, it was one not to be missed! Myself and my colleague, Tom - both graduate engineers, started working for Nuvia, a nuclear consultancy, in September and were eager to see how the projects we were working on existed on a similar site. A few hundred miles and some narrow country roads later, we arrived on site and parked up with a (closer than expected) view of both Sizewell A and B. 

We were directed to the visitor centre to meet our fellow YGN tourers and have a go on some of the interactive models of the plant. After an introduction and safety briefing from Lynette (which included replica fuel assembles with the cut outs to show the uranium pellets) it was time to get PPE’d and meet our Tour guide, Hugh. As an ex physics teacher, he was a fountain of nuclear facts! After going through airport-style security we were taken on the R1 route, developed by the onsite SHE officers, which avoided the need for personal dosimetry. Upon entering the site, the live electricity outputs (MW) of the turbines, TG1 and TG2, were displayed on a board, along with the total produced that calendar year. With a scheduled re-fuelling coming up, the site was expected to gain an extra 1200 contractors – needless to say, it was a hive of activity. 

We were shown the admin, safety, OC health, dry waste stores and general store buildings before being taken to see one of the back-up diesel generator buildings. On our way to the turbine hall we passed by the reactor building - it was great to get a perspective of the actual size. However, by far the highlight of the tour was going into the turbine hall. It was fascinating to see how the complex pipework, designed in 1970’s - without the extensive computer software of today, came together. We were also able to touch the outer casing of the low pressure turbines, where the blade tips were travelling at around three times the speed of sound - a good hand massage! Hugh also pointed out the 3 electrical phases coming out of the generator and 3 conductors which enter a transformer to extract the necessary electricity for the plant. 

On our way back to the visitor centre we passed the demineralisation water building and facility gas stores before stopping to look at the wildlife separation. Hugh was very proud that 85% of fish taken in by the cooling system were released back into the sea alive (if they escaped the pesky seagulls!). All in all it was a good experience to see what a working site is really like and to top it off we grabbed a spot of lunch at an aptly named café - Sizewell T!


Written by Helen McAll and Thomas Baker, Nuvia