Energy News Today

Heysham power plant’s expansion for ‘specialist training’ of emergency nuclear responders


Council planners are currently considering a site expansion for a nuclear power plant in northern Lancashire.

Heysham nuclear power station could see the addition of three new modular buildings following the admission of a planning application to Lancaster City Council.

Although the proposal, lodged in April, only call for the erection of new canteen facilities and toilet cubicle, nuclear plant bosses say the construction plans will enhance the station’s response to potential nuclear emergencies.

The three buildings, which will be built away from the main nuclear site, will be used to train members of the Forward Deployment Service (FDS).

Set up in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster in Japan, the FDS are a set of 40 emergency responders trained to give back-up power to the plant in case of an emergency.

In their planning statement, EDF Energy, who operate the plant, say that the expansion will allow “training crucial to Heysham Power Station to take place.”

The development is planned for a small corner of the south eastern part of Heysham Nuclear Power Station, where FDS storage buildings are already present.

The Fukushami nuclear disaster in Japan led to the creation of the FDS at EDF Energy nuclear sites.
(Image: Getty Images)

In their planning statement EDF Energy say this will lead to less disruption from EDF workers.

It reads: “The teams are trained in specialist skilled areas including plant, crane, and chainsaw operations, working in flood water and driving heavy machinery.

“This application will deliver space for a canteen, canteen office and a drying room and toilets away from the main nuclear site area.

“This will allow the training to take place off-site, minimising on-site disruption.

“It will be located next to the main FDS storage facility (where off road FDS vehicles are stored) and the training will take place in small groups throughout the year on an ad hoc basis.”

An aerial image of Heysham Port and the Power Station, FDS emergency responders could be given new facilities to enhance their training.
An aerial image of Heysham Port and the Power Station
(Image: Google Instant Street View)

In 2011, a powerful Tsunami off the coast of Japan led to the worst global nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

The Tsunami caused high waves to crash over the Fukushima Daiichi power station walls, flooding the reactors and back-up generators.

This led to several hydrogen explosions and nuclear leaks with more than 150,000 forced to leave their homes to avoid the deadly radiation outbreak.

EDF Energy commissioned the creation of FDS groups at tall their nuclear plants in 2015 as a direct response to the Fukashima disaster.

They are trained to react to extreme circumstances at any EDF nuclear plant, including Heysham.

Heysham 1 was first constructed in 1970 and began producing nuclear power thirteen years later, it is due to operate for the next three years, until 2024.

The Heysham 2 site, containing two more reactors, began producing power in 1988 and is due to operate until 2030.

Each power station provides low carbon electricity for around two million homes, supply energy to a total of four million homes across both sites.

Heysham Nuclear Power Station currently employs around 1,500 people.

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Read More: Heysham power plant’s expansion for ‘specialist training’ of emergency nuclear responders

2021-05-26 12:13:32

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