The Anonymous Widower

Suffolk: Sizewell C To Explore ‘Innovative’ Waste Heat Lido

The title of this post, is the same as that, of this article on the East Anglian Daily Times.

This is the sub-heading.

The developers of the new Sizewell C nuclear power station have expressed an interest in an “innovative” plan to use waste heat from the plant to heat a new lido.

And this is the first paragraph.

Creating the outdoor pool was one of a number of ideas contained within the Leiston masterplan – a blueprint for transforming the Suffolk town – and now the Sizewell C company has pledged to explore the proposal with the town council.

This map shows the town of Leiston and the Sizewell power stations site.

Note.

  1. Leiston is in the South-West corner.
  2. The power station site is in the North-East corner.

I have a few thoughts.

Pink Hydrogen

Pink hydrogen is zero-carbon hydrogen produced using nuclear power.

The production of hydrogen is already part of the plans for Freeport East, which I wrote about in Ryze Hydrogen’s Suffolk Freeport Hydrogen Vision Takes Shape.

In that article, I said this.

This would mean that Sizewell’s 6 MW electrolyser could be producing around a thousand tonnes of hydrogen per year or 2.6 tonnes per day.

The more efficient high temperature electrolysis can be used, using some of the waste heat from the nuclear power station. I wrote about this in Westinghouse And Bloom Energy To Team Up For Pink Hydrogen.

I also suspect that it may be more efficient to use seawater to produce the hydrogen.

District Heating

The waste heat can also be used for district heating.

A Train Service To Ipswich

This Google Map shows the railway through Leiston, which is currently used to bring fuel to Sizewell B power station and remove waste.

Note.

  1. The railway starts in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The green dot in that corner marks Leiston cemetery.
  3. The railway then goes East before turning to the South-East corner of the map.
  4. In that corner, there are two sidings for loading and unloading the flasks.

Surely, Leiston also needs a new railway station, with at least an hourly service to Saxmundham, Wickham Market, Woodbridge and Ipswich. And possibly even Aldeburgh!

 

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the route of the Aldeburgh branch.

Note.

  1. The North-South yellow line is the East Suffolk Line.
  2. Their were three stations; Leiston, Thorpeness Halt and Aldeburgh.
  3. Leiston station was in the North of the town.

The intact section of the branch is shown in yellow.

There would be no need for any electrification, as Stadler, who built Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains, are the masters of battery-powered trains and could convert these trains to battery operation. Recently, one of the smaller metro trains, that Stadler are building for Liverpool, ran for nearly 90 miles on battery power alone, which I wrote about in New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery.

An hourly train service would double the frequency of the train service between Saxmundham and Ipswich.

Does the Leiston masterplan include a train service?

And if it does, does it terminate at a new Aldeburgh station?

Conclusion

Integrating development around a nuclear power station could be a way of levelling up.

It would bring electricity, heat, a rail link and jobs to an area.

Will Rolls-Royce use these benefits to sell one of their SMRs to those living around a site?

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Carbon Construction Of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station

Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station is going to be built on the Suffolk Coast.

Wikipedia says this about the power station’s construction.

The project is expected to commence before 2024, with construction taking between nine and twelve years, depending on developments at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which is also being developed by EDF Energy and which shares major similarities with the Sizewell plant.

It is a massive project and I believe the construction program will be designed to be as low-carbon as possible.

High Speed Two is following the low-carbon route and as an example, this news item on their web site, which is entitled HS2 Completes Largest Ever UK Pour Of Carbon-Reducing Concrete On Euston Station Site, makes all the right noises.

These three paragraphs explain in detail what has been done on the Euston station site.

The team constructing HS2’s new Euston station has undertaken the largest ever UK pour of Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) – a material that reduces the amount of carbon embedded into the concrete, saving over 76 tonnes of CO2 overall. John F Hunt, working for HS2’s station Construction Partner, Mace Dragados joint venture, completed the 232 m3 concrete pour in early September.

The EFC product, supplied by Capital Concrete, has been used as a foundation slab that will support polymer silos used for future piling works at the north of the Euston station site. Whilst the foundation is temporary, it will be in use for two years, and historically would have been constructed with a more traditional cement-based concrete.

The use of the product on this scale is an important step forward in how new, innovative environmentally sustainable products can be used in construction. It also helps support HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035, and achieve its goal of halving the amount of carbon in the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail line.

Note.

  1. Ten of these slabs would fill an Olympic swimming pool.
  2. I first wrote about Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) in this post called Earth Friendly Concrete.
  3. EFC is an Australian invention and is based on a geopolymer binder that is made from the chemical activation of two recycled industrial wastes; flyash and slag.
  4. HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035 is laudable.
  5. It does appear that this is a trial, but as the slab will be removed in two years, they will be able to examine in detail how it performed.

I hope the Sizewell C project team are following High Speed Two’s lead.

Rail Support For Sizewell C

The Sizewell site has a rail connection and it appears that this will be used to bring in construction materials for the project.

In the January 2023 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Rail Set To Support Sizewell C Construction.

It details how sidings will be built to support the construction, with up to four trains per day (tpd), but electrification is not mentioned.

This is surprising to me, as increasingly, big construction projects are being managed to emit as small an amount of carbon as possible.  Sizewell C may be an isolated site, but in Sizewell B, it’s got one of the UK’s biggest independent carbon-free electricity generators a couple of hundred metres away.

The writer of the Modern Railways article, thinks an opportunity is being missed.

I feel the following should be done.

  • Improve and electrify the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Saxmundham Junction.
  • Electrify the Aldeburgh Branch Line and the sidings to support the construction or agree to use battery-electric or hydrogen zero-carbon locomotives.

Sizewell C could be a superb demonstration project for low-carbon construction!

Sizewell C Deliveries

Sizewell C will be a massive project and and will require a large number of deliveries, many of which will be heavy.

The roads in the area are congested, so I suspect rail is the preferred method for deliveries.

We already know from the Modern Railways article, that four tpd will shuttle material to a number of sidings close to the site. This is a good start.

Since Sizewell A opened, trains have regularly served the Sizewell site to bring in and take out nuclear material. These occasional trains go via Ipswich and in the last couple of years have generally been hauled by Class 88 electro-diesel locomotives.

It would be reasonable to assume that the Sizewell C sidings will be served in the same manner.

But the route between Westerfield Junction and Ipswich station is becoming increasingly busy with the following services.

  • Greater Anglia’s London and Norwich services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Cambridge services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Felixstowe services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Lowestoft services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Peterborough services
  • Freight services serving the Port of Felixstowe, which are expected to increase significantly in forthcoming years.

But the Modern Railways article says this about Saxmundham junction.

Saxmundham junction, where the branch meets the main line, will be relaid on a slightly revised alignment, retaining the existing layout but with full signalling giving three routes from the junction protecting signal on the Down East Suffolk line and two in the Down direction on the bidirectional Up East Suffolk line. Trap points will be installed on the branch to protect the main line, with the exit signal having routes to both running lines.

Does the comprehensive signalling mean that a freight train can enter or leave the Sizewell sidings to or from either the busy Ipswich or the quieter Lowestoft direction in a very safe manner?

I’m no expert on signalling, but I think it does.

  • A train coming from the Lowestoft direction needing to enter the sidings would go past Saxmundham junction  on the Up line. Once clear of the junction, it would stop and reverse into the branch.
  • A train coming from the Ipswich direction needing to enter the sidings would approach in the wrong direction on the Up line and go straight into the branch.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Lowestoft direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line until it became single track. The train would then stop and reverse on to the Down line and take this all the way to Lowestoft.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Ipswich direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line  all the way to Ipswich.

There would need to be ability to move the locomotive from one end to the other inside the Sizewell site or perhaps these trains could be run with a locomotive on both ends.

The advantage of being able to run freight trains between Sizewell and Lowestoft becomes obvious, when you look at this Google Map, which shows the Port of Lowestoft.

Note.

  1. The Inner Harbour of the Port of Lowestoft.
  2. The East Suffolk Line running East-West to the North of the Inner Harbour.
  3. Lowestoft station at the East side of the map.

I doubt it would be the most difficult or expensive of projects to build a small freight terminal on the North side of the Inner Harbour.

I suspect that the easiest way to bring the material needed to build the power station to Sizewell would be to do the following.

  • Deliver it to the Port of Lowestoft by ship.
  • Tranship to a suitable shuttle train for the journey to the Sizewell sidings.
  • I estimate that the distance is only about 25 miles and a battery or hydrogen locomotive will surely be available in the UK in the next few years, that will be able to provide the motive power for the return journey.

In The TruckTrain, I wrote about a revolutionary freight concept, that could be ideal for the Sizewell freight shuttle.

In addition, there is no reason, why shuttle trains couldn’t come in from anywhere connected to the East Suffolk Line.

Zero-Carbon Construction

Sizewell C could be the first major construction site in the UK to use electricity rather than diesel simply because of its neighbour.

Conclusion

I shall be following the construction methods at Sizewell C, as I’m fairly sure they will break new ground in the decarbonisation of the Construction industry.

December 28, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Greater Anglia Run A Comprehensive Service For East Anglia?

Consider.

  • In the last fifty years, there have been direct trains between London Liverpool Street and Lowestoft stations.
  • In the last forty years, there have been direct trains between London Liverpool Street and Peterborough stations.
  • Greater Anglia currently run an hourly train between London Liverpool Street and Ipswich stations, with stops at Stratford, Shenfield, Chelmsford, Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Kelvedon, Marks Tey, Colchester and Manningtree
  • Frequencies on both routes were not high and less than four trains per day (tpd), but they must have been a demand for these services.
  • Greater Anglia promised to run a Lowestoft service, when they successfully reapplied for the franchise.
  • Greater Anglia have 38 Class 755 trains, of which 14 are three-cars and 24 are four-cars.
  • Class 755 trains can run in twoses and possibly threeses. (Suffolk dialect for twins and triplets!)

Could these elements be assembled to provide a comprehensive East Anglia service?

  • A pair of Class 755 trains would leave Liverpool Street for Ipswich.
  • They would takeover some of the paths of the hourly Liverpool Street and Ipswich service and run possibly about four or five tpd, according to demand.
  • Between Liverpool Street and Ipswich the trains could stop at Stratford, Shenfield, Chelmsford, Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Kelvedon, Marks Tey, Colchester and Manningtree
  • The services would splitgoing North and join going South at Ipswich
  • One train would go to Peterborough with stops at Needham Market, Stowmarket, Elmswell, Thurston, Bury St. Edmunds, Soham, Ely, Manea, March and Whittlesea.
  • The other would go to Lowestoft with stops at Woodbridge, Melton, Wickham Market, Saxmundham, Darsham, Halesworth, Brampton, Beccles and Oulton Broad South.

Note.

  1. The Class 755 trains would use electricity, where electrification exists.
  2. They would use diesel on lines without electrification.
  3. They would be able to hold 100 mph, so wouldn’t delay other trains.
  4. Seventeen towns would get new direct services to and from London.
  5. A Class 745 train is 236.6 metres long, whereas a pair of four-car Class 755 trains is only 161.4 metres.
  6. A three-train formation of Class 755 trains is only 5.5 metres longer than a single Class 745 train.

I am fairly sure no new substantial infrastructure would be required.

I have some further thoughts.

Example Timings

These timings to and from London are based on current timings of the Class 745 and 755 trains.

  • Ipswich – 60 mins
  • Stowmarket -70 mins
  • Bury St. Edmunds – 88 mins
  • Soham – 108 mins
  • Ely – 117 mins
  • March – 136 mins
  • Peterborough – 158 mins
  • Woodbridge – 75 mins
  • Melton – 80 mins
  • Wickham Market – 86 mins
  • Saxmundham – 97 mins
  • Darsham – 104 mins
  • Halesworth – 113 mins
  • Brampton – 119 mins
  • Beccles – 128 mins
  • Oulton Broad South – 138 mins
  • Lowestoft – 146 mins

Notes.

  1. Times to and from Ipswich are based on typical services at the current time.
  2. I have assumed that there are no stops South of Ipswich.
  3. Saxmundham is the closest station to Sizewell and could be important in bringing in construction workers for Sizewell C.

I think some of the times like those to and from Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Saxmundham and Woodbridge could create popular routes.

Battery-Electric Trains

Consider.

These sections of lines are not electrified on the routes I have talked about.

  • Haughley Junction and Ely – 38 miles
  • Ely and Peterborough – 30.5 miles
  • Westerfield and Lowestoft – 38 miles

As there is electrification at Ely, Haughley, Peterborough and Westerfield and South to London, I am fairly certain the route could be run by battery-electric trains.

Electrification To Sizewell C

In the January 2023 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Rail Set To Support Sizewell C Construction.

It details how sidings will be built to support the construction, with up to four trains per day (tpd), but the electrification word is not mentioned.

This is surprising to me, as increasingly, big construction projects are being managed to emit as small an amount of carbon as possible. High Speed Two is being built this way and I suspect Rolls-Royce’s SMR design will minimise carbon emissions during manufacture and construction. It will be very surprising if Sizewell C doesn’t follow High Speed Two’s example. After all, it may be an isolated site, but in Sizewell B, it’s got one of the UK’s biggest carbon-free electricity generators a couple of hundred metres away.

The writer of the Modern Railways article, thinks an opportunity is being missed.

I feel the following should be done.

  • Improve and electrify the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Saxmundham Junction.
  • Electrify the Aldeburgh Branch Line and the sidings to support the construction or agree to use battery-electric or hydrogen zero-carbon locomotives.

One of the collateral benefits of electrifying from Ipswich to Saxmundham Junction, is that it will make it easier for battery-electric Class 755 trains to work Ipswich and Lowestoft services.

  • If the trains were to leave Saxmundham Junction going North with a full battery, they should be able to travel to Lowestoft and return.
  • Battery-electric Class 755 trains could bring in workers from Ipswich or Lowestoft and further afield.
  • It could even leave behind a zero-carbon branch line to Sizewell, Leiston and Aldeburgh, with two tph to Ipswich.

Sizewell C could be a superb demonstration project for low-carbon construction!

The Lowestoft-Great Yarmouth Conurbation

The Wikipedia entry for Lowestoft says this about the town.

The estimated population in the built-up area exceeds 70,000. Its development grew with the fishing industry and as a seaside resort with wide sandy beaches. As fishing declined, oil and gas exploitation in the North Sea in the 1960s took over. While these too have declined, Lowestoft is becoming a regional centre of the renewable energy industry.

Whilst the Wikipedia entry for Great Yarmouth says this about the town.

Great Yarmouth, often called Yarmouth, is a seaside town and unparished area in, and the main administrative centre of, the Borough of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, England; it straddles the River Yare and is located 20 miles (30 km) east of Norwich. A population of 38,693 in the 2011 Census made it Norfolk’s third most populous. Its fishing industry, mainly for herring, shrank after the mid-20th century and has all but ended.[3] North Sea oil from the 1960s supplied an oil-rig industry that services offshore natural gas rigs; more recently, offshore wind power and other renewable energy industries have ensued.

Wikipedia also said this about the population of the wider Great Yarmouth.

The wider Great Yarmouth borough had a population of around 92,500, which increased to 97,277 at the 2011 census.

Taken together they are one of the largest conurbations in East Anglia.

The main means of transport between the two towns is by road.

Surely, two towns of over 70,000 people, who are only a few miles apart need a rail connection.

Onward From Lowestoft To Great Yarmouth

If the comprehensive East Anglia service, I’m discussing is to be truly comprehensive, it must serve the Norfolk Broads and Great Yarmouth.

This would also improve the connectivity between two of the largest coastal towns in East Anglia, that I indicated in the last section.

This OpenRailwayMap shows a cunning plan proposed by Network Rail to connect Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

Note.

  1. Great Yarmouth is in the North East corner of the map.
  2. Two lines lead West from Great Yarmouth station, with the more Northerly route going direct to Norwich and the more Southerly one going to Norwich via Berney Arms and Reedham.
  3. Lowestoft is in the South East corner of the map.
  4. Two lines lead West from Lowestoft station, with the Northern route going to Norwich via Reedham and the Southern one going to Ipswich via Oulton Broad South.
  5. The route of a coastal railway connecting the two towns is also shown.

Network Rail’s cunning plan is indicated on this second  nap from OpenRailwayMap.

Note.

  1. Reedham station is in the North-West corner of the map on the line to Norwich.
  2. To the East of the station is a triangular junction.
  3. The track from the North-East corner of the junction is the line to Great Yarmouth.
  4. The track from the Southern corner of the junction is the line to Lowestoft.
  5. Unfortunately, the South-Eastern leg of the junction was removed in 1880.

In Norfolk Rail Line To Remain Closed As £68m Upgrade Project Overruns, I said this.

Network Rail are talking about reinstating the Reedham Chord to create a more direct route between East Anglia’s largest North-Eastern towns. This is said about the Reedham Chord in Direct Yarmouth Services in the Wikipedia entry for Lowestoft station.

In January 2015, a Network Rail study proposed the reintroduction of direct services between Lowestoft and Yarmouth by reinstating a spur at Reedham. Services could once again travel between two East Coast towns, with an estimated journey time of 33 minutes, via a reconstructed 34-chain (680 m) north-to-south arm of the former triangular junction at Reedham, which had been removed in c. 1880. The plans also involve relocating Reedham station nearer the junction, an idea which attracted criticism.

This sounds a good plan to me.

  • It would allow direct services between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.
  • It would allow direct services between Ipswich and Great Yarmouth with a reverse at Lowestoft in about two hours.
  • With possible charging at Lowestoft and/or Great Yarmouth, a scenic route could be created between Ipswich and Norwich for battery-electric Class 755 trains. If that doesn’t get people out of their cars then nothing will!
  • Various leisure, tourism and work-related opportunities  would be created.

Never in the field of railway engineering would such a small chord have given so much.

Sizewell C Issues

Sizewell C will be a massive project and I also suspect that like High Speed Two, it will be built in a manner that will be zero-carbon where possible.

We already know from the Modern Railways article, that four tpd will shuttle material to a number of sidings close to the site. This is a good start.

Since Sizewell A opened, trains have regularly served the Sizewell site to bring in and take out nuclear material. These occasional trains go via Ipswich and in the last couple of years have generally been hauled by Class 88 electro-diesel locomotives.

It would be reasonable to assume that the Sizewell C sidings will be served in the same manner.

But the route between Westerfield Junction and Ipswich station is becoming increasingly busy with the following services.

  • Greater Anglia’s London and Norwich services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Cambridge services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Felixstowe services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Lowestoft services
  • Greater Anglia’s Ipswich and Peterborough services
  • Freight services serving the Port of Felixstowe, which are expected to increase significantly in forthcoming years.

But the Modern Railways article says this about Saxmundham junction.

Saxmundham junction, where the branch meets the main line, will be relaid on a slightly revised alignment, retaining the existing layout but with full signalling giving three routes from the junction protecting signal on the Down East Suffolk line and two in the Down direction on the bidirectional Up East Suffolk line. Trap points will be installed on the branch to protect the main line, with the exit signal having routes to both running lines.

Does the comprehensive signalling mean that a freight train can enter or leave the Sizewell sidings to or from either the busy Ipswich or the quieter Lowestoft direction in a very safe manner?

I’m no expert on signalling, but I think it does.

  • A train coming from the Lowestoft direction needing to enter the sidings would go past Saxmundham junction  on the Up line. Once clear of the junction, it would stop and reverse into the branch.
  • A train coming from the Ipswich direction needing to enter the sidings would approach in the wrong direction on the Up line and go straight into the branch.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Lowestoft direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line until it became single track. The train would then stop and reverse on to the Down line and take this all the way to Lowestoft.
  • A train leaving the sidings in the Ipswich direction would exit from the branch and take the Up line  all the way to Ipswich.

There would need to be ability to move the locomotive from one end to the other inside the Sizewell site or perhaps these trains could be run with a locomotive on both ends.

The advantage of being able to run freight trains between Sizewell and Lowestoft becomes obvious, when you look at this Google Map, which shows the Port of Lowestoft.

Note.

  1. The Inner Harbour of the Port of Lowestoft.
  2. The East Suffolk Line running East-West to the North of the Inner Harbour.
  3. Lowestoft station at the East side of the map.

I doubt it would be the most difficult or expensive of projects to build a small freight terminal on the North side of the Inner Harbour.

I suspect that the easiest way to bring the material needed to build the power station to Sizewell would be to do the following.

  • Deliver it to the Port of Lowestoft by ship.
  • Tranship to a suitable shuttle train for the journey to the Sizewell sidings.
  • I estimate that the distance is only about 25 miles and a battery or hydrogen locomotive will surely be available in the UK in the next few years, that will be able to provide the motive power for the return journey.

In The TruckTrain, I wrote about a revolutionary freight concept, that could be ideal for the Sizewell freight shuttle.

Great Yarmouth Racecourse

Great Yarmouth Racecourse is one of my favourite racecourses and I believe it is one of the attractions in Great Yarmouth, that would benefit from an improved rail service between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, as it would almost double those with efficient public transport access to the racecourse.

The walking distance between Great Yarmouth station and the racecourse is walkable for many and I remember doing it since C died.

With the train connection to Lowestoft and perhaps a courtesy bus from the station, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that a Lowestoft-Yarmouth rail connection being very good for the racecourse. Especially as road traffic between the two towns can be not the best.

Finishing At Norwich

There are operational reasons to carry on to Norwich, where Crown Point, is the home base for the Class 755 trains.

But it would also link a lot of places that are dependant on tourism and are also heavily involved in East Anglia’s energy industry.

Onward From Peterborough To Lincoln

If the Lowestoft service can extend to Great Yarmouth, an extension of the Peterborough service to Lincoln via Spalding and Sleaford might be possible.

But with LNER also serving Lincoln from Kings Cross, I doubt the route would carry many passengers to and from London.

Conclusion

A service from London, that splits into two trains at Ipswich for Lowestoft and Peterborough has possibilities.

 

 

 

December 27, 2022 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Is Sizewell The Ideal Site For A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?

As someone who spent forty years in project management, the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor or SMR could be a project manager’s dream.

Suppose you were putting a fleet of SMRs alongside Sizewell B.

This Google Map shows the current Sizewell site.

Sizewell A power station, with Sizewell B to its North, is on the coast.

This second Google Map shows the power stations to an enlarged scale.

Note the white dome in the middle of Sizewell B.

Sizewell A

Sizewell A power station was shut down at the end of 2006 and is still being decommissioned, according to this extract from Wikipedia.

The power station was shut down on 31 December 2006. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is responsible for placing contracts for the decommissioning of Sizewell A, at a budgeted cost of £1.2 billion. Defuelling and removal of most buildings is expected to take until 2034, followed by a care and maintenance phase from 2034 to 2092. Demolition of reactor buildings and final site clearance is planned for 2088 to 2098.

Only a few of those, reading this post, will be around to see the final end of Sizewell A.

Note that the size of the Sizewell A site is 245 acres.

It appears to me, that if any power station will be able to be built on the cleared site of Sizewell A, until the late 2080s or 2090s.

Sizewell B

Sizewell B power station opened in 1995 and was originally planned to close in 2035. The owner; EDF Energy, has applied for a twenty-year extension to 2055.

Sizewell C

Sizewell C power station is currently under discussion.

  • It will be built by the French, with the help of Chinese money.
  • It will have an output of 3260 MW or 3.26 GW.
  • It will cost £18 billion.
  • It will take twelve years to build.

This Google Map shows Sizewell B and the are to the North.

I would assume it will be built in this area.

 

A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

These are my thoughts on building a fleet of SMRs at Sizewell instead of the proposed Sizewell C.

Land Use

In Rolls-Royce signs MoU With Exelon For Compact Nuclear Power Stations, I gave these details of the Rolls-Royce design of SMR.

  • A Rolls-Royce SMR has an output of 440 MW.
  • The target cost is £1.8 billion for the fifth unit built
  • Each SMR will occupy 10 acres.
  • Eight SMRs would need to be built to match the output of Hinckley Point C, which will occupy 430 acres.

It looks on a simple calculation, that even if the SMRs needed fifteen acres, the amount of land needed would be a lot less.

Connection To The National Grid

The transmission line to the National Grid is already in place.

This Google Map shows the sub-station, which is to the South-West of Sizewell A.

From Sizewell, there is a massive twin overhead line to Ipswich.

This Google Map shows the overhead line as it crosses Junction 53 of the A14 to the West of Ipswich.

The pylons are in the centre of the map, with the wires going across.

The line has been built for a massive amount of nuclear power at Sizewell.

The Sizewell Railhead

This Google Map shows the railhead at Sizewell.

It can also be picked out in the South West corner of the first map.

  • The railhead is used to take out spent fuel for processing.
  • In the past, it brought in construction materials.
  • Wikipedia suggests if the Sizewell C is built, the might be a new railhead closer to the site.
  • If a fleet of SMRs were to be built, as the modules are transportable by truck, surely they could be move in by rail to avoid the roads in the area.
  • I am an advocate of reinstating the railway from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, as this would be a way of doubling the frequency on the Southern section of the East Suffolk Line between Saxmundham and Ipswich stations.

I hope that whatever is built at Sizewell, that the rail lines in the area is developed to ease construction, get workers to the site and improve rail services on the East Suffolk Line.

Building A Fleet Of SMRs

One of the disadvantages of a large nuclear power station, is that you can’t get any power from the system until it is complete.

This of course applies to each of the individual units, but because they are smaller and created from a series of modules built in a factory, construction of each member of the fleet should be much quicker.

  • Rolls-Royce are aiming for a construction time of 500 days, from the fifth unit off the production line.
  • That would mean, that from Day 501, it could be producing power and earning money to pay for its siblings.
  • If the eight units were built in series, that would take eleven years to build a fleet of eight.

But as anybody, who has built anything even as humble as a garden shed knows, you build anything in a series of tasks, starting with the foundations.

I suspect that if a fleet were being built, that construction and assembly would overlap, so the total construction time could be reduced.

That’s one of the reasons, I said that building a fleet could be a project manager’s dream.

I suspect that if the project management was top-class, then a build time for a fleet of eight reactors could be nine years or less.

Resources are often a big problem in large projects.

But in a phased program, with the eight units assembled in turn over a number of years, I think things could be a lot easier.

Financing A Fleet Of SMRs

I think that this could be a big advantage of a fleet of SMRs over a large conventional large nuclear power station.

Consider

  • I said earlier, that as each unit was completed, it could be producing power and earning money to pay for its siblings.
  • Hinckley Point C is budgeted to cost £18 billion.
  • Eight Rolls-Royce SMRs could cost only £14.4 billion.

I very much feel that, as you would get a cash-flow from Day 500 and the fleet costs less, that the fleet of smaller stations is easier to finance.

Safety

SMRs will be built to the same safety standards as all the other UK reactors.

In this section on Wikipedia this is said about the Rolls-Royce SMR.

Rolls-Royce is preparing a close-coupled three-loop PWR design, sometimes called the UK SMR.

PWRs or pressurised water reactors are the most common nuclear reactors in the world and their regulation and safety is well-understood.

This is from the History section of their Wikipedia entry.

Several hundred PWRs are used for marine propulsion in aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and ice breakers. In the US, they were originally designed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for use as a nuclear submarine power plant with a fully operational submarine power plant located at the Idaho National Laboratory. Follow-on work was conducted by Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

Rolls-Royce have a long history of building PWRs, and Rolls-Royce PWRs have been installed in all the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines except the first. The Royal Navy’s second nuclear submarine; HMS Valiant, which entered service in 1966, was the first to be powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR.

How much of the design and experience of the nuclear submarine powerplant is carried over into the design of the Rolls-Royce SMR?

I don’t know much about the safety of nuclear power plants, but I would expect that if there was a very serious accident in a small reactor, it would be less serious than a similar accident in a large one.

Also, as the reactors in a fleet would probably be independent of each other, it is unlikely that a fault in one reactor should affect its siblings.

Local Reaction

I lived in the area, when Sizewell B was built and I also went over Sizewell A, whilst it was working.

From personal experience, I believe that many in Suffolk would welcome a fleet of SMRs.

  • Sizewell B brought a lot of employment to the area.
  • House prices rose!
  • Both Sizewell A and B have been well-run incident-free plants

Like me, some would doubt the wisdom of having a Chinese-funded Sizewell C.

Conclusion

Big nuclear has been out-performed by Rolls-Royce

November 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Trip On The East Suffolk Line In A New Stadler Class 755 Train

Today, I took a round trip between Ipswich and Lowestoft stations, along the East Suffolk Line, in one of Greater Anglia’s new Class 755 trains.

These are my observations and comments.

Stations

The stations vary between the very good and the very basic.

  • I don’t think that any station has a step-free bridge to cross the line.
  • Many stations are just a single platform.
  • Crossing the line often involves a nearby level crossing.
  • Westerfield, Woodbridge, Saxmundham, Darsham, Halesworth and Beccles have two platforms.
  • Lowestoft and Ipswich are both step-free from the street to the platforms.
  • There also appears to be step-free access between the new trains and the platforms.

Overall, from what I could see from the train, each stop was fairly efficient, although I do think that when the drivers and train staff, fully get to grips with the trains, that there is time to be saved on each of the ten stops.

Consider.

  • These trains have much better acceleration and deceleration, than the trains for which the timetable was written.
  • The trains have level access between train and platform. At Lowestoft, I saw an electric wheelchair roll out of the train at a smart speed.
  • These trains set the Gold Standard for step-free access.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least a minute and possibly two minutes saved at each station.

That would reduce the current journey time of one hour and thirty minutes between Lowestoft and Ipswich by perhaps ten minutes.

Level Crossings

Consider.

  • Over the years, Greater Anglia and its predecessors right back teyond British Rail have been plagued by accidents at level crossings.
  • Network Rail would like to close them all,
  • But there are always a lot of local objections especially in rural counties like Suffolk.
  • Removal is often expensive, as a new toad of several miles needs to be constructed.

I noticed perhaps ten crossings on my trip.

A big problem is that at many stations on the East Suffolk Line, there is a level crossing and it is often the only way to cross the line.

This Google Map shows Saxmundham station.

This is typical of the line. But here at Saxmundham, there is probably enough space to squeeze in a step-free bridge like this one, that won the Network Rail/RIBA Footbridge Design Competition.

There are lots of rural stations like Saxmundham in the country, so why should suburban stations get all the investment?

How long will it be before one of the new Class 755 trains hits a vehicle on an East Anglian level crossing?

Other Traffic

The only other trains that I saw on the route were Greater Anglia trains going the other way, which we passed in stations like Beccles and Saxmundham.

Checking on realtrimetrains.co.uk, there appears to have been no trains other than the Lowestoft and Ipswich service all day.

It appears that although parts of the route are only single track, that a well-designed timetable operated by well-trained and well-performing staff can provide a reliable hourly service.

Line Speed

I brought my personal dynamometer car with me and the train trundled along at a very easy and leisurely 55-60 mph, which is around the operating speed of the line of 55 mph.

Consider.

  • The train gave me the impression, that all those 2,920 kW in the diesel engines could go a bit faster.
  • The timetable was probably designed around a Class 156 train, which has just 425 kW per car, as opposed to the 730 kW per car of the Stadler train.
  • I estimate that the Stadler train is about sixty percent heavier per car, but it does have a lot of electrical gubbins to carry around.
  • The weight of the Stadler train does appear to be lighter per car than a Class 170 train.

I would expect that a well-driven Class 755 train has the power and speed to skip from station to station along the East Suffolk Line at several minutes faster than the timetable.

The line is 49 miles long and trains typically take 90 minutes between Lowestoft and Ipswich. That is an average speed of just under 33 mph.

The leg between Saxmundham and Darsham is just over four miles long and it takes nine minutes. This is an average speed of 27 mph.

Consider

  • The acceleration of a Class 755 train is 0.9 m/s², which means to get up to a line speed of 60 mph takes thirty seconds.
  • Four miles at 60 mph takes four minutes.
  • Driver assistance software can tell the driver exactly where to start slowing for the next station.

It might be possible to do the Saxmundham and Darsham leg in perhaps three or four minutes less than the current timetable.

How much time could be saved on the whole route between Lowestoft and Ipswich?

Trains Needed

Look at a typical Off Peak pattern.

  • An Off Peak train is the 1007 from Lowestoft, which arrives at Ipswich at 1136.
  • This train returns from Ipswich at 1217, which arrives in Lowestoft at 1343.
  • It then leaves Lowestoft for Ipswich at 1407.

The train takes four hours to do a round trip on the route, with forty-one minutes wait at Ipswich and twenty-four minutes wait at Lowestoft.

As trains are scheduled from Lowestoft at 1107, 1207 and 1307, four trains will be needed to provide the service.

This is very inefficient.

I feel that it is totally possible for the new trains to run between Lowestoft and Ipswich in around an hour and fifteen minutes, which would mean a saving of between one-two minutes on each leg of the journey.

Suppose though the trains could achieve this time, with an allowance of fifteen minutes to turn the trains at the two end stations.

This would mean that the round trip is now three hours and only three trains will be needed to provide the service.

The Possibility Of A Half-Hourly Service

The current timetable waits for awkward times in each of the end stations.

But my proposed hour and fifteen minute journey with a fifteen minute turnround could offer the possibility of a half-hourly service.

  • Suppose two trains left Ipswich and Lowestoft at identical times on the hour.
  • They would arrive at their destination an hour and fifteen minutes later at a quarter past the hour.
  • By the half-hour, they would be ready to return to the other station.
  • They would arrive back at the start at a quarter to the hour and fifteen minutes they would be ready to repeat the cycle.

The only problem would be to make sure all trains met each other at a place, where they could pass.

The half-hourly service would need six trains. or two more than the current service.

I don’t think that any major engineering works will be needed, although , there might be a need to adjust a passing loop or the signalling.

This is probably only one of many possibilities to provide a half-hourly services.

A Service Between Ipswich And Leiston And Aldeburgh

As I passed this branch the orange army was clearing the track of years of tree and other plant growth.

I’ve always thought that this would be a good idea and I wrote about it in A Station For Leiston.

  • A half-hourly service would need two trains.
  • It would add extra capacity between Ipswich and Saxmundham.
  • It would certainly be needed if Sizewell C is built.
  • Much of the route is double-track between Saxmundham and Ipswich.

It should also be noted that Sizewell has a high-capacity electricity grid connection and with the growtyh of offshore wind, Sizewell might be the ideal place for a large energy storage facility,

Cambridge And Lowestoft?

I took a train recently between Cambridge and Norwich and I noticed it went on to Cromer and Sheringham.

This was just Greater Anglia’s way of scheduling the trains for their convenience.

But could the same joining be done between these two services.

  • Lowestoft and Ipswich
  • Ipswich and Cambridge

It would do the following.

  • Make better use of Platform 1 at Ipswich.
  • Improve train utilisation.
  • It might encourage day trippers to the coast to use the trains.
  • It would improve the link from East Suffolk to Stabsted Airport.
  • Create a comprehensive service, that connects all the major towns in Suffolk.
  • It would connect these Suffolk towns; Lowestoft, Beccles, Saxmundham, Woodbridge, Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmund’s and Newnarket.
  • It would serve the proposed A14 Parkway station.
  • It would be an excellent feeder sewrvice for the East-West Rail Link.

It would be a true TransSuffolk railway.

Could There Be A Lowestoft And Great Yarmouth Service?

There has been talk of a new service between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth stations.

There are two options to provide a service.

  • Reinstatement of the Reedham Curve that was closed in 1880.
  • By reversing the train in Reedham station.

I describe these options in Norfolk Rail Line To Remain Closed As £68m Upgrade Project Overruns.

As the second option does not need any extra infrastructure, I think it is more likely.

This was my conclusion about the route with a reverse.

Typical timings appear to be.

  • Between Reedham and Yarmouth – 14-16 minutes
  • Between Reedham and Lowestoft – 24-26 minutes

Given that the Class 755 trains have the following characteristics.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They are optimised for fast stops.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sub-forty minute time between Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

It would appear that one train could run an hourly shuttle between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

A Scenic Route Between Norwich And Ipswich

Using the current times between Ipswich and Lowestoft and Norwich and Yarmouth, it also looks like a sub-three hour scenic route is possible between Ipswich and Norwich.

It could be East Anglia’s version of the Cumbrian Coast Line.

Onboard Catering

The East Suffolk Line service currently takes ninety minutes.

I feel that this service is one that could benefit from a coffee service from a trolley.

The service could be provided by Greater Anglia or as on the Settle & Carlisle Line, by the local Community Rail Partnership.

Conclusion

The arrival of Class 755 trains on the East Suffolk Line could be the start of something special!

 

December 4, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Station For Leiston

The Aldeburgh Branch Line is still  intact, as far as Sizewell nuclear power station.

Past Sizewell, it would appear that the original route and track-bed is not obstructed and can be seen on the Google Maps all the way to Aldeburgh.

This Google Map shows the route, where it enters Aldeburgh.

Aldeburgh

 

The prominent road that runs diagonally across the map in a North-West/South-East direction is Saxmundham Road and it goes all the way to the sea.

Reaching to this road is the dark scar of the railway, which runs parallel to the coast. Aldeburgh station was somewhere, where the two features meet.

Sizewell C

If Sizewell C is built, then I could envisage sets of circumstances, which meant that the line was reopened to passengers, at least as far as Leiston station.

Providing a service on the line to Ipswich would not be a problem, once Ipswich station had been rebuilt with a new platform 0 and an extended platform 1, which I believe is necessary to provide better services to Lowestoft and Felixstowe.

But whether the service would generate sufficient traffic to be viable and profitable in the long term, would be very much open to doubt.

Doubling Frequency From Ipswich To Saxmundham

If we assume that the main East Suffolk Line has a one train per hour (tph) service between Ipswich and Lowestoft, I wonder if an Ipswich to Aldeburgh Branch Line service could be used to double the frequency at the Southern end of the East Suffolk Line.

Ipswich to Saxmundham currently takes thirty seven minutes., so on a crude estimate, Ipswich to Aldeburgh could certainly be done within the hour.

I suspect that this would mean that it would not be difficult to run the Aldeburgh Branch Line trains on a one tph basis to fit in between the Ipswich-Lowestoft trains.

As at least one platform would need to be built somewhere on the single-track branch to reverse the trains, it could be built at Leiston, Thorpeness or Aldeburgh provided the track went that far.

So by reinstating the Aldeburgh Branch Line and giving it an hourly service from Ipswich would also give Saxmundham to Ipswich a 2 tph service.

Leiston Station

This increase of frequency at the Southern end of the East Suffolk Line and the needs of any future nuclear power station at Sizewell, will be the only possible reasons that passenger services will resume on the Aldeburgh Branch Line.

If trains ventured onto the Aldeburgh Branch Line, surely they would call at Leiston station.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments