THE country’s first commercial nuclear power station to be decommissioned is pushing ahead with its programme.

Berkeley Nuclear Site is forging ahead with its decommissioning process after successfully putting its two reactors into safestore mode for the next six decades last December.

This means that both reactors have been fully decommissioned and sealed until 2074, when they will be demolished.

Since then the site has embarked on a programme of work to deal with the site’s legacy intermediate level waste (ILW) that was generated on site during operations. The waste is currently being stored safely and securely in subterranean vaults. As part of a company wide programme, a team has been set up to manage the safe retrieval of the waste, which will be packaged and stored in an above ground purpose built store.

This work is a regulatory requirement and the waste will remain securely on site until the national geological disposal facility becomes available, which is planned for 2040.

Steve McNally, Berkeley Site director said: "Completing our safestore project last year was a major success for the site and the industry. My focus is now on dealing with the legacy waste stored on site, the last technical challenge ahead of placing the site safely into care and maintenance before the 2021 planned date."

Berkeley Nuclear Power Station came into service in 1962 and after 27 years of successful operation – generating enough electricity on a typical day to serve an urban area the size of Bristol – the station closed in 1989. The site is managed by Magnox South Ltd, which is carrying out the work on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The site managers are also looking at proposals to remove and recycle the fifteen huge boilers currently stored on site and has started to engage with the local community through the Site Stakeholder Group (SSG). One option is to take them through Berkeley to Sharpness Docks. The site is currently working on more detailed proposals and will update the community again later in the year.