Reprieve for power workers

Dungeness power station is a big local employer: it has 500 staff as well as 200 contractors

Safety regulations have been changed at Dungeness B power station which might mean there are jobs there for longer than expected. Rye News reported  that Rye’s Emergency Action Community Team had been looking at plans for Dungeness safety standards to be lowered; Anthony Kimber explained the background.

The nuclear reactors at Dungeness use graphite blocks to slow down the nuclear reaction, and the safety change allows a small increase in the loss of graphite permitted. The power station, operated by Paris-based Électricité de France (EDF),  employs more than 500 staff along with around 200 contractors, and this relaxation in regulations could help the company achieve its target to extend the plant’s life by around 10 years.

Rye Newscommented on this plan and the change in operational safety rules has now been approved by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

South East Green MEP Keith Taylor opposed the change and said that, rather than rewriting the rules, more effort should be put into renewable energy, such as wind, and improving energy-saving, such as home insulation.

Local people’s concerns were also raised at a Shepway District Council meeting.  EDF says, however, that the limits are set at conservative levels and still include wide safety margins.

Photo: Tony Nunn