Innerwick | Torness Power Station – facts and benefits – provided by British Energy

Safety, Health and Environment introduction

British Energy operates the eight most modern nuclear power stations in the UK. The safe operation of our nuclear reactors is our first priority. Occupational health and safety and care for the environment are also very important to us. We seek continuous improvement and believe in openly and honestly communicating our performance. A full account of our Safety, Health and Environment Review and Annual Report are on our website

Overview of the contribution Torness Power Station makes to its locale and the important role it plays in the community.


Torness has an excellent safety record and was recently awarded the President Award by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents this year (2002/3). This means Torness power station has achieved a minimum of ten consecutive gold awards and is a reward to the station for the focus on industrial safety over the last number of years.

The station can also boast of over a million man-hours worked without anyone taking time off for a workplace accident currently (June 2003).

This achievement means that Torness has operated for over 550 plus days without any British Energy employees suffering a Lost Time Accident – the last LTA was in October 2001. A Lost Time Accident is an accident which causes someone to take a full day or more off work.

The East Lothian MSP candidate, John Home Robertson said: “This is an impressive achievement and demonstrates the high standards of safety and reliability operating at Torness power station. It is a credit to all staff and management which I congratulate them on”.


British Energy employs 450 at its Torness power station site. These people all live in the local area of East Lothian and in some cases have worked at the power station since it started generating in 1989.

At different times during the year, routine plant maintenance work (called a statutory outage) involves taking the reactor off-line and stripping it down to carry out any necessary maintenance work. This is a labour-intensive exercise and requires extra man-power, so for this period each year extra personnel are drafted in from (local) contracting firms. This also applies to other scenarios on the plant, when extra personnel are required to carry-out station projects or repair work.

In addition to the 450 British Energy staff, our principal contractors employ around 140 locally recruited staff to support their Torness power station contracts. The contractors include Eurest, Mitsui, Balfour Kilpatrick etc.

Employment at Torness power station is generally in the hi-tech disciplines, including engineering, IT, training etc and is high-paid for the area. The power station is one of, if not the biggest employer in the East Lothian region.

Apprenticeship opportunities

British Energy also offers apprenticeships to school-leavers from around the East Lothian region. The company offers a range of technician apprenticeships in a variety of engineering areas, including Control and Instrumentation, Electrical, and Mechanical, and trainees may also be trained in more than one engineering area, giving them a wider skills base.

The power station has close links to high schools in the region and has made presentations to pupils about the apprentice scheme to inform them of the opportunities available. The course is run in conjunction with Jewel and Esk Valley College, Dalkeith. For more details, contact:

Torness Power Station
East Lothian
EH42 1QS
Telephone 01368 863842

The power station also regularly invites pupils in from surrounding schools for work exchange programmes, with students spending roughly a week shadowing in departments around the site. Feedback received from teachers indicates the pupils find this a very useful experience in gaining first-hand knowledge about Torness power station and working in related fields. The departments involved include HR, Finance, Procurement, Licensing and Documentation, Nuclear Safety, Quality Management Environmental safety, Chemistry laboratories and Maintenance workshops.

Environmental benefits

Torness power station is an environmentally friendly site – all of our power station sites (as well as the two support centres) are certified to ISO 14001, the international environmental management award.

Overall, British Energy’s eight modern nuclear power stations not only produce around one fifth of the UK’s electricity, but also avoid the emission of about 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year that would be otherwise emitted by stations run on fossil fuels. This is equivalent to removing about two thirds of all cars from the roads in the UK.

Also, our nuclear power stations do not emit sulphur and nitrogen oxides, important contributors to acid rain and photochemical air pollution. The environment will continue to benefit from British Energy operations for many years to come.

The Torness site is also home to many natural species of flora and fauna. The site has strong links to the Scottish ornithological society and has planted trees to encourage the bio-diversity of the site. The coastal walkway, running the full length of the sea wall around the station, was especially built to provide visitors with panoramic views across the sea. Many local amateur fishermen now use this location.

Peregrine falcons – a protected bird of prey – have also made Torness their home over the last few years, nesting on a sheltered part of the reactor building. This was covered recently in the East Lothian Courier.

Contribution to the local economy

Torness together with Hunterston B power station on the Ayrshire coast, provide half of Scotland’s electricity.

As well as employing people directly from the local area and using local contractors, there is a direct spin-off from Torness power station into the local economy.

British Energy staff who are visiting from other locations to work at Torness, will stay at local hotels/B&Bs and generally make use of the local amenities on hand.

International links

British Energy has many strong links with overseas nuclear operators, including peer visits arranged via the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Torness’ Station Director, Willie Waddell, has been actively involved with WANO visits to Kozloduy power station in Bulgaria, and is actively pursing exchange programmes which contribute to following working best practice examples. A student exchange programme has also operated in the past and there are plans in place to revisit this.

Links with the Community

The station operates a Sponsorship Committee that regularly responds to requests sent in from the local community for sponsorship or donations. Staff are also very active in their own right and around 104 staff at Torness contribute to Charities Scheme each month. They raise around £500 a month to help mainly local charities and since the scheme started in 1991, approximately £70,000 has been donated to date.

Other examples of fund raising include the Kelly Smith Trust Fund which was set up by staff at Torness to help raise funds for an ex-employee with brittle bones disease. Kelly is a local woman (from Dunbar) who has under many operations in her lifetime and the funds are enabling her to undergo life-saving operations.

The station also has strong links with the community via the Local Liaison Committee. The committee is comprised of local councillors, emergency services representatives, health board, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Executive etc We endeavour to keep this group informed of any developments at the power station/British Energy. We group meets once a year (sometimes special meetings are called in addition to this). Station newsletters are also sent out to report on our operations at Torness, and these go to the LLC members.

The station also has strong positive links with the MSPs, and MPs of the region via our Public Affairs department. Regular VIP visits and contact regarding station activities are key to this. The PR department also has strong links to the local press in the area.

These are just a few examples of the positive impact Torness Power Station has on its surrounding locale and community. If you have any further enquiries about Torness or British Energy in general, either visit our website on or call the Corporate Communication department on 01355 594041.

12 June 2003