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Babcock has contributed to bringing Sizewell B power station back online, assisting in the defuelling and refuelling of the reactor alongside the Areva US team.

The Babcock team also operated the means of entry for tools and equipment into the containment area – the Equipment Access Hatch – while its control and instrument technicians supported radwaste operations around the clock.

EDF Energy took the decision to bring Sizewell B offline in March following the failure of some heaters in the pressuriser.

Yvan Lohr, site manager at Areva, said: ‘One element of the return to service activities involved in a highly skilled, Babcock team working in cramped conditions to fit 78 strain gauges onto the heater elements.

‘They specified the method of fitting, devised equipment to assist in swift installation, and spent many hours practising the operation on the full-scale mock-up in order to achieve success with the minimum dose uptake,’ Lohr added.

While the outage and repair work was being carried out, the opportunity was taken to bring forward work scheduled for later outages, such as the replacement of worn parts of the polar crane, which was carried out by Babcock’s specialist crane team.

Using the time taken to repair the pressuriser so efficiently can help towards reducing the length of future outages, minimising the loss of generation.

Babcock will continue to support Areva and EDF Energy in future refuelling outages, identifying process efficiencies and improvements wherever possible.

Babcock Nuclear Division

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