STAFF at Berkeley Power Station have hit a milestone in their decommissioning programme.

The process reached a new stage last month when a second chute silo machine was removed and sent off site for refurbishment. Plans to move the plant’s 15 boilers were also pushed forward. They had been stored on site since the reactors were decommissioned with the intention of removing them as part of final site clearance in 2074. Due to additional funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), however, they will be removed and recycled much earlier than expected.

Berkeley Site director Steve McNally said: "It is a good time to take out and recycle the boilers. It has been brought forward from site clearance. The site is planning to move up to five by March 2012."

A series of events will be held to engage with the local community leading up to the first removal, as boilers will be transported through Berkeley.

The main focus at the power station still remains the retrieval of legacy Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from its underground vaults.

A Berkeley Site spokesman said: "This waste was generated during the site's operational lifetime and consists of fuel element debris from the power station and wastes created through the laboratories. "Over the coming years the site will remove this waste, package and store it on site until the national geological disposal facility is available."

This is planned for 2040.