Generation - Power Plant Operator Technician


A Day in the Life of …

Nick Francis – Power Plant Operator Technician Trainee, Ratcliffe Power Station

I am awoken by the sound of my “Rooster” alarm clock. Breakfast is porridge this morning – now I’m ready for the day ahead.

6.30am – I arrive at work and head to relieve my colleague on the night shift. We discuss what has happened over the night shift. I’m told I have some isolations to do straight away so I go and get into my overalls.

6.50amThe control room is buzzing, the operators and control engineers are all in different stages of their handovers from the night shift. I make tea for everyone while the handovers finish.

7.15amI sit down with my unit operator and we go through the unit log together. This is to make sure we are both aware of everything that has happened overnight and what to expect from the coming shift.

7.30am –  A section two sootblower isolation is needed - this will let the maintenance team repair faulty sootblowers. A sootblower is a device for removing the soot that is deposited on the furnace tubes of a boiler during combustion.  A chemical dose is also needed. This is to maintain the chemical conditions in the boiler protecting the boiler tubing from corrosion. We also have a leak on the mill nitrogen loading system which I will have to track down.

10amI walk back into the control room to the welcome sound of the tea trolley. I’m ready for a drink and a sandwich. This gives me a chance to catch up with the team and see how their day is going. Glenn on unit 2 will need help with a larger isolation later on.

10.30amTime for my regular plant checks, which include taking meter readings of pressures and temperatures from around the plant. This gives us historical data so we can look back, spot trends and fault find. We all meet up to help Glenn on his isolation. Many hands make light work.

12.30pmA shout on the radio calls me back to the control room. They have finished with the sootblowers. The keys are back and I have to go and de-isolate the blowers so we can test run the relevant blowers.

1.30pmMy relief arrives so I hand over the state of the plant to the afternoon shift and head for the showers.

2pm – I travel home from another good day, full of chances to learn and opportunities to better myself.  I am enjoying my training programme working with lots of different people who have so much knowledge and experience which they are happy to share with me.  The shift team are a very close knit bunch of people and there are lots of laughs along with the serious side, which sees me learning as much as possible and achieving my academic goals (Level 2 Diploma in Power Plant Operations plus City and Guilds 6541 Certificates in Power Plant Operation).