London attraction goes nuclear

26 January 2011

The London Eye runs on nuclear power now that EDF Energy has taken over as the attraction's sponsoring partner. The company will also supply the 2012 Olympics as it prepares to build more nuclear power plants in Britain. 


A lighting-up ceremony before sunrise yesterday marked the start of a three-year deal between EDF Energy and Merlin Entertainment, owners of the London Eye. Merlin said EDF would help it reduce the London Eye's overall carbon footprint using its expertise as the UK's largest producer of low-carbon electricity.


London Eye, January 2011 (EDF Energy)

The ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames was lit up yesterday
(Image:  EDF Energy)


EDF Energy's power generation mix includes 4000 MWe of coal and about 42 MWe of gas with approximately 1300 MWe of gas under construction. The low carbon portion is made up of 8800 MWe of nuclear, while the EDF Energy Renewables joint venture operates or has consent for up a total expected capacity of 360 MWe of wind. The company confirmed to World Nuclear News, however, that the power for the London Eye would be "100% matched to nuclear."


EDF has also pledged to supply low-carbon power for the next summer Olympic Games being held in London in 2012. As a major sponsor and sustainability partner, EDF Energy has exclusive rights in the utility sector and said in its annual report: "We are committed to helping London 2012 set a benchmark for a sustainable games. For example, we plan to supply electricity during the games from low-carbon or renewable sources."


While older reactors retire, EDF Energy is planning for replacements to come online towards the end of this decade. Up to four Areva EPR units could be built at Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.


Hinkley Point is the first to see development, with site work already started and planning applications expected later this year. Two days ago EDF moved to boost local skill levels in time for construction with a £3 million ($4.7 million) investment in an Energy Skills Centre at nearby Bridgwater College. The centre is intended to deliver inductions and basic safety training to thousands of construction site workers.


Later should come a further investment of £1.5 million ($2.3 million) to set up a construction skills training centre, also at Bridgwater College, and if the plant is built this could be followed by a £1.6 million ($2.5 million) initiative to create an apprenticeship hub around West Somerset Community College.


EDF Energy said the Hinkley Point C project "will inject £100 million ($158 million) per year into the local economy during construction and £40 million ($63 million) per year during operation."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News