Maintenance shutdown at Heysham Power Station begins after added Covid-19 planning

Staff at Heysham 1 power station have been planning for the past two years to ensure the site’s three-yearly £25m maintenance shutdown is a success.

Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 9:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 9:34 am
Heysham Power Station turbine hall.

This outage, which started on Monday September 28, has brought special challenges as the site is also managing the on-going coronavirus pandemic, which has meant bringing in additional arrangements to protect the health of everyone on site for the programme’s two-month duration.

Heysham power stations introduced Covid prevention practices back in February and have been working closely with the temporary outage workforce more recently to make sure they are fully aware of the site’s pandemic policies and procedures.

These include having temperature monitoring at all entry points to site, having additional cabins to create more space for increased social distancing, enhancing cleaning regimes further and introducing a mandatory policy for surgical facemasks for those in indoor areas.

Heysham Power Station.

Steve Gardner, strategic outage manager, said: “This has been a real test of us all here at Heysham 1 and indeed across EDF.

“We have been closely working with our contract partners regarding Covid precautions and we are well set up for identifying any issues and carrying out testing to protect the wider community and our staff.

“We will learn from the best practices in the UK and internationally and where possible continually enhance our own arrangements. We are also closely monitoring the situation in the local area, working with Public Health England.”

The shutdown will see the site’s team supported by temporary contractors with many from Heysham, Morecambe and Lancaster.

They will tackle many 1,000s of tasks, as well as swapping three huge gas circulators, carrying out maintenance on four boilers, and also continuing the site’s planned graphite inspection programme.

Steve said: “It is a very busy time for all at Heysham 1. The shutdown allows us to get in to some key areas we can’t easily access when the station is operating.

“Once this reactor’s shutdown is safely completed we will be back to making low carbon electricity for around one million homes.”

Heysham 1’s two reactors generate enough low carbon electricity to power around two million homes which saves around eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to removing 3.7m cars from Britain’s roads for a year.