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12 December 2012, 06:00
People will be able to have a look around parts of the Sizewell nuclear power station for the first time since 9/11.
All tours were cancelled and the visitor centre was closed after the terrorist attack in America for security reasons.
But now, Suffolk residents are being invited to visit Sizewell B as EDF Energy opens a new visitor centre at the nuclear power station.
The centre will allow people to see nuclear power for themselves and is designed to capture the imagination of children and adults alike through hands-on displays and guided tours of the operating site.
EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz and local MP Therese Coffey officially launched the new centre which is on the Sizewell B site. It is the third of seven planned visitor centres to be opened by EDF Energy’s and is part of the company’s commitment to increase openness at its nuclear power stations across the UK.
The centre opened as a new poll showed that 71 per cent of people living around Sizewell said they agreed that nuclear power was needed as part of the energy balance, and 63 per cent supported the construction of new nuclear power stations.
Vincent de Rivaz said: “We have said for some time that openness and transparency has to be at the heart of everything we do in our business. This Visitor Centre is about developing relationships with the community and recognising that we have a responsibility to communicate and educate as well as to listen.
“That is particularly important when we are consulting on plans for a new nuclear power station at Sizewell C. I am pleased that there is support in the community for Sizewell and I am also clear that it is not something we take for granted.”
An eleven week consultation into plans for a new Sizewell C power station began last month. In just two weeks around 2,500 people have visited exhibitions in nearby villages and EDF Energy’s information office on Leiston High Street.
Therese Coffey MP, said: “The opening of the visitor centre is an excellent opportunity for local residents to learn more about the Sizewell operation and nuclear power. I am pleased that at a time when local residents are being asked for their views on Sizewell C, EDF are holding public exhibitions and are opening their visitor centre to listen and answer questions.”
Sizewell B station director Jim Crawford said: “Today is an important milestone in our ambition to be as open as possible and we hope to inspire young people about science, technology and engineering. The country needs young people to develop an enthusiasm for science which might one day turn into a career here at Sizewell 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.”
The Visitor Centre will normally be open Monday-Friday from 9-4pm. The majority of the tours will be organised for schools and educational groups. However, members of the public will also be able to attend by 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. To find out more and to enquire about booking a visit, contact email@example.com.