Nuclear power currently provides around 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements and is proven to be a low-carbon method for generating the vital resources needed to run our homes, schools, hospitals and offices.
Currently operated by EDF, Sizewell B is the UK’s most recently constructed and modern nuclear power station, supplying three per cent of the UK’s electricity for over a decade.
The plant is the country’s only commercial pressurised water reactor, meaning that high temperature and high pressure water (not boiling) is pumped into generators that produce steam, which is fed into a turbine for the safe and efficient production of electricity.
Capable of supplying over 1.5 million homes, Sizewell B was built and commissioned over eight years from 1987 and finally synchronised for the first time with the national grid in 1995.
When the original project manager and site operator Nuclear Electric was issued with a licence to proceed with construction in 1987, NG Bailey was selected to assist in providing the pivotal electrical services and systems to ensure that Sizewell B played a vital role in electricity provision for the country over many years.
The sheer size of the site, immense scale of the project and tight schedule put in place by the client stretched NG Bailey’s innovative thinking and collaborative working practices into new and exciting territory.
Completed in a number of pre-defined phases, NG Bailey’s remit covered the procurement, installation and testing of support steelwork and cabling, high and low voltage power, control and instrumentation,
telecommunications, fire seal technology, heat, vent & air conditioning and earthing system and lightning protection – the backbone for the 28 million, MW hours of electricity, per day project.
Faced with meeting the client’s ambitious programme, NG Bailey advised that a joint cable management team should be put in place, so that both client and contractor could produce realistic and achievable monthly packages of work.
Progress on site and access were monitored using computerised planning and production systems, with regular briefings taking place ‘live’ from the project, with personnel at the client’s HQ, via video links. The adoption of such communication techniques was recognised as forward-thinking and significantly cutting-edge at the time.
Sizewell B proved to be one of the most demanding projects that NG Bailey had ever undertaken. Special sheering bolts sourced by the team, for example, enabled the installation to be proved and checked in one visit, speeding up the job and saving around 20 per cent of site man hours.
The open exchange of data was a key feature of the project which resulted in problems being solved quickly with minimum impact on contract progress. An autonomous site management team was created for the duration of the project which resulted in installation rates that were unprecedented in the sector.
The collaboration between NG Bailey and Nuclear Electric meant that despite the huge challenges presented by Sizewell B, the project was completed within schedule and budget.
Original site operator - Nuclear Electric