£30 million maintenance programme at Torness

Torness power station.
Torness power station.

One of two nuclear reactors at Torness power station will be taken out of service today (Friday July 10) for a maintenance programme worth around £30 million.

More than 500 extra workers will join the workforce during the nine week programme, providing a boost to the local economy. They will carry out over 12,000 separate pieces of work, each planned during the last two years of preparation.

The extensive programme of work will see inspections take place inside the reactor, as well as the installation of new equipment at the plant. The largest projects include exchanging two gas circulators which help cool the reactor and replacing blades on the turbine which is used to turn steam into low carbon electricity.

The maintenance periods, known as “statutory outages”, take place every three years on each reactor and are planned in advance with the National Grid to ensure that there is no impact on the national electricity supply. Torness’ other reactor is due to continue operating normally throughout this period.

Station director Paul Winkle said: “This inspection, maintenance and investment programme has been carefully planned over the last two years and will enable us to continue safely generating low carbon electricity at Torness for many years to come.

“It’s good news for the local economy which will see local shops, taxi firms, restaurants, B and B’s and hotels benefit from the large number of extra people who will be staying in and around East Lothian.”

Torness power station’s two nuclear reactors generate enough electricity to power more than two million homes. The station employs more than 500 full time staff and around 250 full time contract partners to ensure the safe, reliable generation of electricity.

Torness has produced enough low carbon electricity to save the equivalent of 140 million tonnes of CO2 during its 27 years of operation, the equivalent of taking all of the passenger cars off the UK’s roads for two years.