More about Sizewell A

Most of the information here is taken from the article by Tony Francis, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 27 Dec 06.

Sizewell A will stop generating on New Year's Eve 2006, with a perfect safety record to its name. The world's oldest operational nuclear station, Dungeness B, will shut down on the same day. Both have come to the end of their working lives. It will be the first time that two power stations have disappeared off the grid simultaneously. Britain will lose two percent of its electricity; enough to serve a million users.

There will be no rejoicing in Sizewell at the closure. Residents are more likely to wear black.

When the Central Electricity Generating Board advertised for a place to put the station in 1957, Sizewell was put forward by the town council. Garretts, the engineering works, had just closed, and two thousand people lost their jobs. Sizewell A was a life-saver, and the locals have never forgotten it.

Despite a six-year public inquiry, the locals also took Sizewell B (opened 1995) in their stride. This privately-owned pressurised water reactor has another 29 years to run.

Ron Jones, a retired engineer, came to Sizewell 18 years ago specifically because of the power station. He comments "I'm comfortable with nuclear Physics, so it felt like home. I was lucky enough to get a job in the visitor centre; I must have shown thousands of people around". The centre has been mothballed since September 11, 2001 for fear of terrorist attacks. "Shame", says Ron, "The more people learn about nuclear power, the less apprehensive they become".

Ron also makes the comment that, but for the power station, developers would have moved in. As it is, the population of Sizewell remains at about 1,000.

Ironically, the decommissioning of Sizewell A will create jobs in the short term. The workforce will go to a record high of 478 as the buildings are demolished and radioactive material is removed.

ND comment ... the way I see it - once the fuel elements are removed, the core should be sealed and left alone. Surely the best place for any residual radioactivity is within the core itself - radiation- proof and terrorist-proof and made for the job.

Why are they dismantling it? They couldn't build a better nuclear store.

Pat Hogan is a local head teacher. Pat is grateful for the efforts which British Nuclear Fuels has made in sponsoring local initiatives and introducing training schemes for school leavers, many of whom went on to work at the power station. Above everything else, she says that the village will miss the stability which the power station has brought.

Nigel Deacon, habitat21 website

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