A NEW visitor centre has opened for the public to see nuclear power for themselves.
Bosses have unveiled the centre at Hartlepool’s nuclear power station, complete with hands-on displays and guided tours.
EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Vincent de Rivaz, Simon Parsons, station director at Hartlepool power station and MP Iain Wright launched the new centre yesterday.
It is the final visitor centre of seven opened by EDF Energy and is part of the company’s commitment to increasing openness at its nuclear power stations across the UK.
The timing of the opening is particularly significant as Hartlepool marked 30 years of low carbon generation this summer.
The station has generated around 150 terawatts of low carbon power since it started production in 1983. This has avoided around 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to removing all the vehicles from the entire UK’s roads for three years.
Andy Spurr, managing director of nuclear generation, said: “EDF Energy enjoys strong support from the community around Hartlepool and we are committed to being as open as possible here in Teesside and at all our nuclear power stations in the UK.
“Opening the visitor centre is an important milestone for us. It will enable thousands of people from the community and beyond to see nuclear power and to learn about how we safely generate low carbon electricity for around two million homes.”
Mr Wright said: “Hartlepool power station continues to play a vital role in the local economy. This new centre is an excellent way of connecting local residents and visitors to the working life of the power stations, and also increasing understanding of the importance of nuclear power to our energy infrastructure.”
Hartlepool station director Simon Parsons said: “We hope the visitor centre will inspire young people to look at science, technology and engineering at school and beyond.
“The country needs young people to develop an enthusiasm for science which might one day turn into a career here at Hartlepool and that enthusiasm starts with experiences like this.
“Since we announced our plans, we’ve been inundated by requests from local people keen to learn more about our station.
“This visitor centre will allow us to introduce people to our operation in a safe, informative and attractive environment and we expect many thousands of visitors through the doors.”
It will normally be open between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Friday. All plant tours require advanced booking.
The majority of the tours will be organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public can also attend by prior appointment.
Visitors will be given an introductory talk about how the station operates, before being given a guided tour through selected parts of the plant. Visits can be booked by ringing Alex Hawes on (01429) 853582.