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Dependable power supplies in challenging times

16 April 2020

The NIA is highlighting how the nuclear industry is managing the impact of COVID-19 across its operations to keep the lights on and support its workforce and communities.  Below are some examples of the EDF is doing across its power stations, construction sites and wider energy business.

“The new normal” is way of life we are collectively adjusting to. For much of the developed world, our needs, not wants, have come into sharp focus, as has the importance of workers who deliver these critical services behind the scenes.

Even during lockdowns, some things cannot come to a stand still: we must have food in the fridge, medicine in the cabinet and, of course, keep the lights on. So what is being done to ensure energy gets to our homes and hospitals, whilst protecting the essential workforce who are on nuclear sites, making it happen?

EDF, which runs all of the UK’s operating nuclear power stations, triggered its pandemic plans two months ago, before the first case of COVID 19 was reported in the UK.  An early priority was getting stocks in to ensure generation was protected in event of supply disruption and ensuring reserve operational teams were ready to cover absences caused by sickness or self-isolation. At Sizewell B in Suffolk , routine operations have been updated to incorporate enhanced safety measures.

Those enhanced safety measures are also being rolled out in the construction of the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation, Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

EDF recently released a video to illustrate the new measures they have put in place at Hinkley Point C. Workers will lodge at campus facilities to ensure they aren’t in the local community, and ground markers have been introduced both in their canteen, and at park and ride—the only place where their buses will now pick up from.

Beyond its nuclear-specific activities, many of EDF’s employees are going above and beyond their routine duties to alleviate the impacts of the virus. Smart metering and technical field engineers have volunteered to support the local community by partnering with Boots pharmacies to deliver critical medicines to those in need. This is vitally important for those who are self-isolating and cannot get to their local pharmacy for their prescriptions.

For more information visit, EDF partners with Boots to deliver essential medicine to most vulnerable.

It should also be noted that maintenance—following social distancing guidelines—during planned outages of the nuclear fleet has been completed as planned since the lockdown started. This is bringing low carbon capacity back on line, meaning less of our power for homes and hospitals is coming from burning fossil fuels, whether it is windy, sunny, neither or both.