Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Sizewell A: Transportation of spent fuel rods to Sellafield has slowed

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 December 2012

Sizewell A power station

Sizewell A power station

Archant

THE flow of highly radioactive spent fuel rods from the redundant Sizewell A nuclear power station to the Sellafield reprocessing works in Cumbria has slowed to a trickle as the Suffolk plant has slipped down the priority list.

However, officials are hopeful that regular transports will resume at the end of March and that the target date for total de-fuelling – the autumn of 2014 – will still be met.

Sizewell A ceased electricity generation at the end of 2006 after a 40-year operational lifetime and is being decommissioned, a process which will continue for decades.

Thousands of fuel rods from the twin gas-cooled reactors are gradually being taken by rail to Sellafield for reprocessing via the East Suffolk line and Stratford on the outskirts of London.

Regular transports were taking place up until the start of the Olympic Games when the journeys were suspended - because of the need to reduce rail congestion in the Stratford area, not because of any terrorist threat, officials maintained.

A resumption was delayed because of problems at Sellafield, now largely resolved.

But few transports have since taken place and the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG) was recently told that a resumption of the regular journeys is now on hold.

Clive Pullen, Sizewell A plant manager, said priority was now being given to the de-fuelling in Scotland of the Chapelcross power station, originally built to provide weapons-grade plutonium for the Ministry of Defence as well as to pump electricity into the national grid.

“De-fuelling has not been going as well as we would wish. We’ve got a small allowance at the moment but we’ve been assured that Sizewell A will be the next priority,” Mr Pullen said.

It would take another 177 rail transports to complete the de-fuelling, he added.

Marianne Fellowes, SSG chair, said the lack of transports was proving a frustration for Sizewell A staff geared up for the de-fuelling process.

The SSG – as well as the management at Sizewell A - would be pressing for an early re-start date, she said.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

The remains of an outdoor classroom set alight in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park have again been hit by fire.

Birch Farm Nursery in Hintlesham, which was given an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted in December, has made significant progress to gain the requires improvement rating on its re-inspection last month.

A 51-year-old benefit cheat who was overpaid £26,000 has been sentenced to a six month supervision order.

Kesgrave Town Council has laid on an event to help older people who struggle to get out or experience loneliness.

Skilled inmates at a Suffolk open prison should be put to use repairing the building, a report suggests.

Here’s a roof top view taken across busy Fore hamlet in Ipswich as the sun goes down.

Parish councillors in a west Suffolk village have recommended controversial plans for 100 homes be refused amid infrastructure concerns.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24