Oldbury Power Station shuts down

After 44 years of safe operation, Magnox’s Oldbury power station – the world’s oldest operating nuclear power station – ceased generation at 11am on 29 February 2012.

To-date, the site has generated over 137.5 TWh of electricity, enough to power one million homes for over 20 years (one TWh is a billion units of electricity)!

In November 2011, the proactive decision to shut down Reactor One was taken after careful consideration by operators Magnox, EnergySolutions – the owners of Magnox Ltd, and the site owners the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The decision was made on the grounds that further operation of one of the world’s oldest nuclear reactors is no longer economically viable.

Originally, Oldbury was due to shutdown in 2008. Since the scheduled closure date, the plant has generated an additional 7.4TWhrs of electricity, worth an estimated £350 million to the taxpayer and saving around 3.5M tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

Phil Sprague, Oldbury Site Director, said: “Oldbury has been a terrific success story for the UK nuclear industry.  We have generated safe, carbon free electricity for 44 years which is a remarkable achievement when you consider that the original plant design life was just 25 years.

“The plant has had a number of enhancements over the years, however continued generation is largely down to the excellence of the staff that have operated the plant for those 44 years.  This fantastic record is one that all staff both past and present, can rightly be proud.  Today marks a safe and dignified end to the generation of electricity at Oldbury.

“Our main focus for the coming months is to prepare our staff and the plant for the defueling of the reactors, whilst continuing to maintain the very high standards for safety that we have created here.  On-going support for our staff as we make these changes will be key for the rest of this year.”

Brian Burnett, NDA Head of Programmes said, “Oldbury has a long and proud history of safely generating electricity.  Our thanks go to the Magnox workforce, who have been extremely committed to maximising the plant’s generating life, ensuring it was able to safely continue past its original planned closure date.  Its income has been extremely valuable in supporting our mission to decommission the UK’s first generation of civil nuclear sites.”

The NDA’s other operational nuclear site, Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales, is looking to extend generation beyond its current shutdown date of December 2012, through to 2014.

Richard Waite, President, UK and Europe, at EnergySolutions, said: “My congratulations go to all staff at Oldbury, past and present, who have contributed to the site’s amazing achievements over the past 44 years. EnergySolutions are proud to have been part of that journey – including the site’s recent life extensions – and we look forward to working with all at Magnox in the coming years as the focus shifts to safe defueling, decommissioning, and clean-up.”

In 2011, Oldbury was recognised for its excellent safety culture by being one of 54 organisations who were awarded the British Safety Council’s Sword of Honour. The winners were recognised as having exemplary health and safety systems that are among the best in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *