Extra space granted for work to decommission old nuclear plant on Suffolk coast

Sizewell A and B

Sizewell A and B - Credit: Archant

Permission has been granted for addtional work areas at Sizewell A as part of the ongoing work to decommission the old nuclear power station.

Defuelling is complete and owner Magnox’s main focus at the site, which stopped generating electricity a decade ago, is currently the cooling ponds.

Preparations are taking place for physical decommissioning work of the ponds to begin later this year.

The Waste Programme team has also started to be established at the site and its first object is connected with engineering work with its initial task to retrieve fuel element debris from the vaults. This is expected to begin next year.

Suffolk Coastal council has now agreed an extension to an existing building on-site to provide an additional work area for the future decommissioning of redundant equipment.

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Case officer Phil Perkin said the addition would “not be unduly prominent”

He said: “The site of the proposed extension is surrounded by much larger buildings and as such will not materially change the character of the site.

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“I viewed the site from the beach to the east of the power station and it may be possible to see the top part of the proposed extension but it will be viewed against a background of much larger buildings and therefore will not have a detrimental impact on the character of the AONB.

“As the proposed extension is required as part of the decommissioning programme there is a functional need for it.”

After decommissioning is finished, the site will be kept in a passively safe and secure state for decades to allow radiation levels within buildings such as the reactor safestores to naturally decay over time.

Only once this is complete – probably around 2088 – preparations can take place for the buildings to be demolished.

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