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Davina the seal makes a home at an inlet at Dungeness B nuclear power station on Romney Marsh

18 February 2014
by Sam Lennon

A nuclear power station has an unexpected visitor - a seal.

Davina, a grey seal, has made a home in an artificial inlet at Dungeness B.

Now station staff and marine experts are working to gently coax her back to the wild.

Davina the seal at Dungeness power station

Davina the seal at Dungeness power station

Meanwhile, she is living on fish naturally swimming in from the sea.

And EDF Energy said she is eating so well she has put on a few kilos since she arrived.

Station director Martin Pearson said: "Davina seems very happy and is making the most of the plentiful supply of fish.

"She is in no danger and is clearly enjoying her stay.

"When she's ready she'll come on a specially designed platform to allow rescue and eventually return to the wild."

The platform at Dungeness B to rescue Davina the seal.

The platform at Dungeness B to rescue Davina the seal

Davina was first seen in late January at the station's forebay, a large open chamber containing seawater drawn in from the English Channel by the cooling water system.

Water pressure coming in from the sea makes it difficult to swim back out - but her stay is so comfortable she is in no hurry to get onto the platform that would bring her out.

The experts involved, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, confirmed Davina was in good health.

Operations manager Stephen Marsh said: "We're monitoring the sea and she's feeding and swimming very happily. Although she's not hauling onto the platform yet she is getting some rest by floating upright with her nose out of the sea.

"As soon as she hauls out onto the platform we will release her back into the sea."

Davina the seal at Dungeness B power station.

Staff are trying to coax Davina the seal back into the wild

Davina is named after the worker who first spotted her, Dungeness B engineer David Timcke.

She is not the first seal to get into the forebay. In 2012, another female seal called Cecilia found her way in and was successfully released back into the wild.

Grey seals are found in several coastal colonies on the British Isles, particularly in places such as Northumberland and Lincolnshire. They are also found well Europe's Nordic and Baltic areas and the east coast of the USA and Canada.

They are not an endangered species - in fact their numbers are growing in places such as America and the Baltic coasts.

Grey seals eat a wide variety of fish such as cod and herring and also eat octopus and lobsters.

Each individual eats an estimated 5kg (11lb) of food a day.

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