NDA Executive Director for Delivery, Mark Lesinski said:
“Well done to the Magnox team and NDA colleagues who have made extended operation possible. The income from electricity sales has provided an important contribution to the funding of our decommissioning programme. Magnox and NDA will now work with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition into the next stage for the site which will involve defuelling and subsequent decommissioning.”
After 44 years of safe operation, Oldbury power station will stop generating electricity in February 2012.
The proactive decision to shut down Reactor One, the only operational reactor at Oldbury, was taken after careful consideration by operators Magnox and the site owners the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), in conjunction with independent regulators the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
The decision was made on the grounds that further operation of one of the world’s oldest nuclear reactors is no longer economically viable.
Phil Sprague, Oldbury Site Director, said: “Oldbury’s excellent generation history is a terrific success story, especially as the site was originally planned to close in 2008. As a result of excellent teamwork between Magnox, the NDA and ONR the site’s operational life was extended until February 2012, and it is a testament to the skill and dedication of the workforce who have operated and maintained the reactors to such a high standard that it has been able to continue to generate safely.
“Oldbury has provided the UK with a vital source of power for over four decades, something that everyone who has worked at the site, past and present, should be very proud of.”
Both of the site’s reactors were scheduled to close at the end of 2008, and since that time the site has generated an additional seven terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, worth an estimated £300 million to the taxpayer. The extra generation has also saved around six million tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
Following the end of generation the site will move through a transition period into defueling of the reactors before decommissioning begins.
Since its construction in the 1960s, Oldbury has starred in several television shows, including Doctor Who and Blakes 7, and even featured on Top Of The Pops when the group Slade recorded a performance for the show on the pile cap.
To date the site has generated over 130 TWh of electricity, enough to power one million homes for over 20 years. Reactor Two at Oldbury was shut down on 30 June 2011, in line with its agreed operating limits.