Anger at Oldbury nuclear plant's two-year extension

Friday, December 19, 2008 Bristol Evening Post

Anti-nuclear campaigners have reacted with astonishment after Oldbury nuclear power station was been given permission to carry on generating for another two years.

The atomic plant, near Thornbury, had been set to close down at the end of December.

But, as previously reported in the Bristol Post, a delay in the defuelling schedule meant it was possible for the station on the banks of the river Severn to stay in operation, provided site regulators gave their approval.

That go-ahead has now been given by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII).

The decision was welcomed by locals, who said they had lived alongside the station for the past 40 years and were happy to see it continue to provide energy and jobs.

But members of the Shut Oldbury campaign said it was a "mad idea".

They said there had been safety concerns for the past six years, particularly surrounding the graphite core of its two reactors.

Joe Lamonby, Oldbury's site director, told a recent stakeholders' meeting no defects had been found in the inspection of more than 30,000 graphite bricks in the reactors.

But Jim Duffy, of the Shut Oldbury campaign, claimed decades of high temperatures, high pressure and radioactivity had "corroded vital components" at the heart of one of the reactors.

He said there could have been political pressure to "keep the flag flying" for nuclear power on the Severn as the Government planned to let the industry build more reactors at sites such as Oldbury.

Mr Duffy said: "This is an astonishing decision.

"The oldest and most damaged UK reactor is allowed to keep running past its long established closure date, despite safety concerns which the regulators have recorded for the past six years."


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Page Updated 23-Dec-2008