‘Ambitious’ Bradwell closure deadline missed but programme still on-track, operators say
Anti-nuclear campaigners are concerned a target date for the decommissioning of Bradwell Power Station has slipped.
Magnox, which runs the site, has admitted an early target of closing the power station by the end of 2015 has not been reached, but maintains it will still be closed before the originally proposed 2027.
However the Bradwell Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) says it is indignant about the delay, and remains concerned that the changed timescales means a process of releasing low-level nuclear waste into the Blackwater estuary – a method approved by regulators – will now continue for longer.
Varrie Blowers, BANNG secretary, said: “This is scandalous
“The deadline for the entry of the former Bradwell nuclear power station into its Care and Maintenance state keeps shifting. At the Local Communities Liaison Committee meeting on June 3 it was announced the deadline had changed from the much-vaunted date of 2015.
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“It has now changed again from 2017 to 2019, and no real reasons have been given.
“I would hazard a guess there are problems with the experimental accelerated dissolution process for the fuel element debris.
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“This extension means that radioactive discharges into the shallow Blackwater estuary will continue for years to come.”
Barry Turner, vice-chairman of BANNG, added that if the waste had been packaged and stored perhaps the 2015 target would have been hit.
He said: “No-one should have any faith in these deadlines that are periodically announced and routinely missed.”
A Magnox spokesman said: “Although it has been clear for some time that some areas of the site are not as far advanced as expected and that some work will continue after our initial ambitious target, we still expect to bring the closure date forward from the originally proposed date of 2027.
“Overall there have been many successes in the Bradwell programme which has piloted new ways of working and new technologies for waste treatment and storage.
“There have also been, and continue to be, challenges but other Magnox sites are now benefiting from the learning of this ambitious programme.
“Taken together with the new technologies and strategies introduced by our new owners we expect accelerating the closure of Bradwell will save the UK many millions of pounds and result in significantly faster hazard reduction across the other Magnox sites.”