Power upgrade for Wylfa nuclear plant shutdown

UK Power Networks Services has been commissioned to install a state-of-the-art electrical distribution system at the Wylfa nuclear site in Anglesey, North Wales, to enable the continued decommissioning works of the former power station.

The infrastructure specialists have been awarded the 16-month project by Magnox, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Magnox is responsible for the safe, secure, and sustainable clean-up of 12 nuclear sites across the UK, and the operation of one hydro-electric plant. The first step of the project will be to gain design approval before installation works can begin.

The new electrical overlay system, consisting of cables and substations, will meet modern safety standards and be more cost efficient for Magnox as it continues its long-term work at the site. Currently, the station is connected to an outdated grid supply which is no longer required after the plant stopped generating electricity in 2015.

When the new system is installed, Magnox can deactivate most of the existing electrical infrastructure at the site and begin decommissioning work on the main turbine hall. The system will also be flexible, allowing Magnox to reconfigure its network as it continues to downscale the plant.

Throughout the project, UK Power Networks Services will provide the design, manufacture, supply, build, testing, delivery, installation, and commissioning of the new system, as well as its supporting civil infrastructure. Work is scheduled to start in summer 2022 and finish in late 2023.

Wylfa nuclear power station was first commissioned in 1971. It is one of 17 nuclear sites across the UK being safely and securely managed as part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s long-term decommissioning strategy. In the future, Magnox will dismantle and clear the site to release it for new use.

David Mitchell, Director at UK Power Networks Services, says: “Nuclear sites involve complex engineering and highly skilled expertise. We’ve had that experience from our work at nuclear sites and on other critical national infrastructure across the UK, so we’re excited to be bringing our knowledge to make sure the project is a success.”

Stuart Law, Wylfa Site Director, adds: “Installing the new electrical distribution system is the first of a number of critical steps we are taking to support the demolition of Wylfa’s turbine hall. Work to cleanse this half mile long superstructure of asbestos is well underway and plans to isolate the building of all cabling and pipework are progressing well. We will then be able to remove all the redundant equipment inside before demolishing the building and achieving a significant milestone in the Magnox decommissioning mission.”

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