Heysham 1’s staff and contract partners have returned one of the station’s two reactors to power after completing a £25m maintenance shutdown.
This shutdown, which started in September, was safely completed while the site is also managing the on-going Coronavirus pandemic.
Both Heysham 1 and 2 power stations brought in strict Covid prevention practices early in 2020, including temperature monitoring, enhanced cleaning regimes further and introducing a mandatory policy for surgical facemasks for those in indoor areas.
Additional arrangements were brought in to protect the health of everyone on site for the maintenance programme’s duration.
Martin Cheetham, station director at Heysham 1, said: “This was a real test of the team here at the station and they have met that challenge by safely completing the work and returning the reactor to power.”
Heysham 1 provides enough low carbon electricity for around two million homes. The whole EDF fleet of eight power stations can provide up to 20% of the UK’s electricity demand.
Martin added: “As well as tackling the usual big maintenance projects, the team have also inspected the reactor’s graphite core as part of an on-going inspection programme happening at each of our stations and the good news is that these checks have confirmed that all is as expected.
“Heysham 1 has an important role to play in providing low carbon power for the country, and our plan is to carry on doing that until 2024 when we expect to stop making electricity and the staff will start to safely defuel the power station.”
During the shutdown the site’s team of around 750 people was supported by around 1000 extra temporary contractors with many from Heysham, Morecambe and Lancaster.
Martin said: “These shutdowns are a very busy time for all at Heysham 1 and are years in the planning. Turning off a reactor allows us to get in to some key areas we can’t easily access when the station is operating.
“We are now looking forward to a steady 2021 when we’ll be carrying on providing low carbon electricity.”