DISMANTLING has begun at Oldbury Nuclear Power Station with the first large part sent off to be recycled.

The plant’s 170 tonne-generator transformer was removed this month as part of the decommissioning process. It was transferred to Sharpness Docks on a specialist low-loader to be taken to a recycling plant.

During operation, the generator transformer played a vital role in converting the electrical output from the station to make it suitable for distribution to homes and businesses across the UK.

Mike Heaton, Oldbury site director, said decommissioning was well on track.

"The completion of this project safely and ahead of schedule marks the first successful step in consigning major waste items from Oldbury," he said. "Income from recycling the scrap metal will help pay for the UK nuclear decommissioning programme."

The transformer contains more than 30 tonnes of copper and around 120 tonnes of steel. It measures over four metres high, nine metres long and four metres wide.

Defuelling is currently underway at Oldbury Power Station and should be complete by June 2015.

Staff numbers will decrease slightly in March, going from 390 to 370, with employees leaving on voluntary severance.