Gloucester Citizen, 4th September 2006

Campaigners are calling for a Severnside nuclear power station to shut down before it causes a meltdown. The Stroud District Green party says Oldbury's Magnox facility is dangerous after 38 years of generating electricity. It's due to close in 2008.

Party spokesman and Stroud District Councillor Philip Booth said the station's second reactor has been out of use since June last year and the first reactor is due to come off-line this year for statutory inspections.

He said: "Why waste any more millions on propping up this dinosaur?

"On safety grounds it should close now. Oldbury has the worst weight loss of any UK reactor core and nuclear engineer John Large said on TV documentaries last year that this could lead to a catastrophic nuclear fuel fire and release of radiation."

Oldbury spokesman Tim Jones said that safety is the number one priority at all British Nuclear Group sites.

He said the reactors were shut down so that detailed visual inspections could be carried out in the reactor core using state-of-the-art camera technology.

He added that inspections and tests were continuing and British Nuclear Group, which manages contractors running Oldbury, is putting a safety case to the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate for a restart in the future.

Mr Jones added: "We would only seek to restart a reactor once we are entirely confident it is safe to do so.

"Unless they considered it was completely safe the inspectorate wouldn't allow us."

One of Oldbury's two reactors has continued to operate but will come offline soon for tests to be carried out.

Mr Jones said: "During that outage additional inspectors will be carried out on its graphite core as agreed with the inspectorate.

"Once we are satisfied we can make a robust safety case we will seek permission to restart reactor one."

He said British Nuclear Group would continue to keep the Oldbury Site Stakeholder Group informed of the situation for both reactors.

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