The centre will become fully operational in March following a three-year programme of work prompted by the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Following Fukushima, the UK’s Chief Nuclear Inspector Mike Weightman carried out a review of Britain’s nuclear power sector, and while he found that UK facilities had “no fundamental weaknesses”, he did make a number of recommendations to further enhance safety and resilience.
EDF initiated a £180m plan to meet these recommendations at its eight nuclear power stations.
The plan included additional training for key technical staff, enhancements to backup equipment for cooling systems, and emergency command and control facilities.
The centre near Sizewell – which is the only pressurised water reactor operating in the UK – will contain back-up plant and control systems to enable operators to run the station remotely if necessary, as well as emergency equipment, high pressure pumps and vehicles (pictured) that could be rapidly deployed in the case of an extreme event.
The centre was inaugurated by EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz, who said: “We committed as a company to respond to Fukushima in the right way and do whatever was required to ensure the continued safety and resilience of our nuclear power stations.
“We have done what we said we would do. This demonstrates that we have delivered a nuclear construction project on time and on cost. It represents a further major investment in the future of low carbon nuclear power in the UK and will provide an additional line of defence here at Sizewell.”
During his speech, de Rivaz also confirmed that the next nuclear power station being considered for life extension is Dungeness B in Kent. He said: “A life extension would mean that Dungeness B could continue to operate safely and help to keep the lights on until a new generation of nuclear power stations is built in Britain.”