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Working together to achieve a safe and reliable start-up

The first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in over 20 years; Hinkley Point C in Somerset will provide low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes, create thousands of jobs and bring lasting benefits to the UK economy. Mark Monaghan explains how Hinkley Point C and WANO are working together to prepare the new unit for safe and reliable start-up.

WANO Paris Centre and EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C (HPC) have developed a five year interaction plan, which outlines what measures will be taken during the construction, commissioning and start-up phases, to ensure safe and reliable start-up of the new unit. Our joint plan sets out what is needed up until WANO completes its pre-start up peer review (PSUR) of the new unit.

WANO is providing advice and expertise in the following areas:

• Leadership and nuclear safety culture
• Housekeeping
• Industrial safety
• Fire protection
• Risk management
• Independent oversight

The plan will enable staff from WANO and HPC to collaborate closely and strengthen ties over the next few years. Stuart Crooks, the CEO at HPC, has joined WANO Paris Centre’s Governing Board. We can also provide staff to take up secondments at WANO, to gain valuable knowledge and experience from plants worldwide, including new units, and by taking part in key activities such as Peer Reviews, Member Support Missions and Operating Experience reports, and the New Unit Assistance Industry Working Group.

In particular, we attend the twice yearly New Unit Assistance Working Group meetings to join other new build projects in sharing lessons learned and best practices. This is a great forum in which to share common goals such as NUA interaction plans, successful PSUR preparation and transient free start up performance.

Over the next few years, WANO’s key focus will be to deliver MSMs, training seminars and workshops on its topics from its NUA modules to HPC, along with any other topics requested by us. The main objective of these activities is to drive recommendations that will improve plant performance.  

As part of its preparations, staff from HPC have been working with other WANO members that are building new units. For instance, we are working with WANO to schedule a visit in the next few years to a plant in China operated by CGN, to establish what lessons were learnt before it started operations. 

The activities outlined in the plan will enable HPC to prepare for two important milestones in the final eighteen months before start-up – an Operational Readiness Assistance mission (ORA), which is typically conducted one year before PSUR, and then the Pre-Start-Up peer Review (PSUR), which is conducted between Hot Functional Test and First Core loading.

By working closely together, we have devised a strong plan to achieve a safe and reliable start-up of the new unit. On behalf of everyone at the new unit, we look forward to continuing to work closely with WANO in the months and years ahead.

Mark Monaghan
Pre Operations Plant handover lead at Hinkley Point C, EDF Energy