Acoustic fish deterrent (AFD) technology is constantly evolving. Better understanding of individual species and how they behave, new techniques and familiarity with different environments help experts implement more effective and efficient systems.
Since Hinkley Point C first received a Development Consent Order, AFD technology has progressed to overcome earlier concerns about maintenance schedules and all requirements of the system specification have been met. Some of the latest developments include:
- Active Pressure Compensation System (APCS) – developed by FGS to resolve the operational and maintenance challenges of tidal changes at less accessible sites.
- Underwater Power and Communication Hubs – FGS has developed new hubs that will allow Sound Projectors to be located at greater distances from the Control Equipment. These hubs have been upgraded with both communications and and power components having built-in dual redundancy, to provide even greater reliability.
- Remote Operation and Monitoring – giving users the ability to set different levels of access, with daily emails reporting on the condition of systems.
- Maintenance Regime Improvements – the latest projectors require servicing every 18 to 24 months, rather than annually, and the inclusion of APCS can extend this beyond 36 months. Where divers are required to carry out manual tasks, these can be streamlined to reduce the time spent underwater.
The Hinkley Point C Development Consent Order was upheld on the basis that a combination of all three measures – LVSE intake, AFDs and FRR – should be installed and operated at the site. It is estimated by official reports that up to 182 million fish, or 37 tonnes, will be prevented from dying from the intake each year.
The AFD is required to make the fish protection system work because it deters fragile fish (such as sprat and shad) that will die if they come into contact with the fish return system at the end of the power station’s two vast cooling tunnels.
The Government’s report and recommendations can be read here.
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