Delay to decommission power station

DRASTIC revisions could be made to the decommissioning process of an out-of-action power station.When Sizewell A reached the end of its lifetime on December 31, it was planned that the removal of more than 50,000 spent fuel elements would take place over the next three years.

DRASTIC revisions could be made to the decommissioning process of an out-of-action power station.

When Sizewell A reached the end of its lifetime on December 31, it was planned that the removal of more than 50,000 spent fuel elements would take place over the next three years.

Now, however, due to capacity problems at Sellafield in Cumbria, home to the Magnox reprocessing plant, and the limited availability of flasks, it means site directors are considering delaying the defuelling process by a few years.

The proposed move has come after a decision was made to defuel reactors at Dungeness A in Kent first.


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James Tott, communications officer for Sizewell A, said: “This is unexpected and we are perhaps not as prepared for this as well as we would have liked but it seems to be the right thing to consider defuelling at Dungeness first.

“We still have 430 people working as full time employees and there's no way that the company will let the plant deteriorate in the meantime.”

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The spent fuel at Sizewell A, which accounts for 99 per cent of radioactivity at the plant, will be kept in the two reactors.

The company will bring forward work it had planned to do in a few years time while it waits to get the green light to remove the spent fuel. It is expected the complete lifespan of the decommissioning process will not be affected by this setback.

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said: “It's a regrettable circumstance and we don't like that its going to be delayed but we understand what the reasons are and Sizewell A are without control.”

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