BUSINESSES in and around Dunbar are expected to receive a boost over Easter with hundreds of additional workers carrying out a multi-million-pound major maintenance programme at Torness Power Station.

More than 600 extra workers will be staying in Dunbar and throughout East Lothian as they link up with the 750-strong workforce for the maintenance period known as a ‘statutory outage’.

One of the nuclear reactors at the EDF Energy power station, on the outskirts of Dunbar, was taken offline on April 7 for a nine-week period.

EDF Energy carries out a statutory outage on each of its reactors every three years.

These are planned in advance with the National Grid to ensure there is no impact on the national electricity supply.

The other reactor at Torness is due to continue operating normally throughout the maintenance programme, which is worth about £28 million.

During the outage, workers will carry out more than 12,000 separate pieces of work – each carefully planned during the last two years of preparation.

The biggest projects include inspections of the reactor vessel internals, exchange of the turbine high-pressure rotor, and replacement of auxiliary cooling water pipework systems.

Paul Winkle, station director, said: “This is the first statutory outage since we announced last year that Torness will continue to produce low carbon electricity until 2030; an additional seven years.

“The outage will give us the chance to do inspections and carry out pieces of work that are not possible when the reactor is operating. It is also a great boost for the local economy.

“We are bringing in an additional 600 workers, who will be staying in local hotels and bed and breakfasts, eating in the area’s restaurants and using taxi firms.”

“It is great that our investment in the power station can also benefit local community.”

Torness Power Station’s two nuclear reactors generate enough electricity to power more than two million homes and started operating in 1988.

The station employs more than 500 full-time staff and about 250 full-time contract partners.