You probably didn’t notice but, at the end of February, Oldbury nuclear power plant, on the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, shut after 45 years of operation.
If it were any other variety of industrial plant, they would soon be dismantling it.
But once the nuclear fuel is removed, the nuclear boffins don’t plan to touch it again until at least 2096, when the difficult and expensive task of dismantling the reactor and disposing of the thousands of tonnes of radioactive rubble will begin.
Oldbury joins nine other mothballed ‘Magnox’ nuclear plants, from Dungeness in Kent to Chapelcross in southern Scotland. They were mostly built in the Sixties and shut down in the past decade or so.
All are still packed with concrete and steel that will stay radioactive for hundreds of years. They will soon be followed by the next generation of advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs), mostly built in the Seventies and scheduled to close in the next decade or so.
Most will remain locked up under what the industry calls ‘care and maintenance’ until the 22nd Century. Why do we allow this? That’s not giving the task to our children, but to our great-great-grandchildren. Read More