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  • Magnox Ltd.

Bradwell nuclear site in Essex, UK, powers generators with renewable diesel

Diesel generators powered by HVO are used to provide electricity for lighting and equipment when inspections happen at Magnox’s Bradwell nuclear site in Essex, England. (Photo: Magnox Ltd.)

Despite now being in a period of “care and maintenance,” Magnox’s Bradwell nuclear site in Essex, U.K., is still inspected on an annual basis to ensure vital systems remain in a safe state.

But with no “active” work taking place on the site, most of the buildings have been cut off from the main power since 2018—meaning diesel generators are used to provide electricity for lighting and equipment when inspections happen.

During the most recent inspections, however, petroleum-based diesel fuel was swapped for hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), also known as renewable diesel, made from recycled waste biological materials—making it one of the cleanest, greenest fuels on the market.

“Using HVO reduces CO2 emissions by around 90 percent and particulate emissions by 80 percent—so less greenhouse gases and cleaner air for us to breathe,” said Sohail Ashraf, director of the Bradwell site.

“It is also recycled, biodegradable and nontoxic with no negative impact on the performance of the generators,” Ashraf continued.

By using generators powered by renewable diesel, Ashraf said they were also able to charge batteries and reduce running times.

“This increased efficiency reduced environmental emissions even further and meant we saved over £17,000 in fuel costs during the work,” Ashraf said.

As a result, Ashraf added that the team was able to complete this year’s inspections a week ahead of schedule.

“Sustainability means balancing financial, environmental and human needs in order to protect our planet for current and future generations,” Ashraf said. “And this simple switch ticks all these boxes, meaning it is a really sustainable innovation.”



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