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EDF Energy generates powerful surveillance partnership with Hanwha Techwin

30 September 2020

WITH THE potential to generate 1,230 MW and provide low carbon energy for 2.3 million homes, it’s essential that Heysham 2 nuclear power station is able to operate 24/7 without any disruption. That operation is now being bolstered by the addition of surveillance solutions supplied by Hanwha Techwin.

Located in North West England, Heysham 2 held the world record for the longest continuous operation of a nuclear generator without a shutdown. To ensure the generator retains this enviable reputation for reliability, its operator EDF has recently invested approximately £30 million in plant improvements which has included a phased upgrade of the site’s video surveillance system.

“Our existing analogue CCTV had limited functionality and was not fit for purpose in respect of our wish to more closely monitor the plant and machinery in operation throughout Heysham 2,” explained Nigel Buer, telecoms specialist at EDF Energy. “We decided to take a close look at what we might be able to achieve by replacing the analogue system with an IP network-based video surveillance solution.”

Evaluation process

Buer chatted with several leading manufacturers about which cameras would best assist his colleagues to keep a close eye on the generator's instrument panels and quickly respond to any technical issues.

“Heysham 2 covers a very large area and we wanted to avoid the need for colleagues to walk long distances just to verify an instrument reading,” he explained. “Although an inefficient use of our colleagues’ time, this had previously been necessary for time-critical issues.”

After evaluating various manufacturers’ offerings, Buer established that the Wisenet range of video surveillance cameras and video management solutions manufactured by Hanwha Techwin included everything necessary to meet Heysham 2’s requirements.

Wisenet cameras

Phase One of the upgrade project has seen the deployment of 45 cameras, 15 of which are 2 MP Wisenet XNP-6120H 12x PTZ dome cameras. These are equipped with Wide Dynamic Range which performs at up to 150 dB to accurately produce images in scenes that simultaneously contain very bright and very dark areas.

In addition, 13 Wisenet TNU-6320 network cameras have been deployed. These 2 MP models can be programmed to endlessly pan 360° in order to monitor a wide area. They also offer operators the flexibility to select from up to 255 pre-set positions which can be scheduled.

Designed to capture HD images in challenging environmental conditions, the Wisenet TNU-6320s (which feature a robust aluminium die-cast exterior) are able to work effectively even when the ambient temperature is as high as 55°C or, conversely, as low as -40°C.

EDF Energy’s Control Room operators are able to view live and recorded images captured by the cameras with the help of WISENET WAVE video management software. This features an intuitive drag and drop-style tool which makes it extremely easy for operators to set up a display of live and recorded images on a single screen or video wall with customisable layouts and sizes.

Success story

The resolution of a recent Health and Safety issue, whereby an electrical item failed and sparked close to a technician, has underscored the importance of Heysham 2 being equipped with the latest video surveillance technology. The quality of the images captured by the cameras monitoring the faulty electrical item enabled Buer and his colleagues to quickly establish, among several possibilities, what had caused the sparking.

“Keeping colleagues safe will always be our top priority, but there’s no doubt that the new Wisenet IP network cameras are making a significant contribution by helping us to more efficiently monitor and maintain Heysham 2’s generator and its supporting plant and machinery,” enthused Buer.

Following on from the success of Phase One of the upgrade project, Buer is now looking at how additional Wisenet cameras might meet the specific requirements of colleagues who deal with specialised aspects of operating a nuclear power station.