OLDBURY Power Station marked the end of an era with the removal of the last fuel from its reactors.

During defuelling more than 52,000 fuel elements were removed from the reactors and the final element was removed from reactor two on Sunday, October 4.

Defuelling manager at Oldbury, Keri James, said she was proud to be part of the team that removed the final fuel from the reactors.

“The work doesn’t end here though, we still need to ship the fuel to Sellafield, which will take us several more months,” she added.

“Once the fuel has all been sent off site, we will have removed about 99 per cent of the site’s radioactive inventory.”

Mike Heaton, Oldbury site director, said: “This achievement is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and dedication from the team at Oldbury.

"They have excelled at delivering this work, safely and ahead of schedule.” 

Oldbury’s reactor one began generating electricity in 1968, safely operating for over 44 years, and it was shut down in February 2012.

Defuelling began at Oldbury early in the next year and the final fuel is due to leave the site, operated by Magnox Ltd, in the new year. 

Once all the fuel is shipped, Oldbury will move into its decommissioning phase, which will bring a new set of challenges.

Dr Brian Burnett, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority head of programmes, said: “My congratulations go to the team at Oldbury for achieving this important milestone three months ahead of schedule. 

“Magnox remains on track to transport all fuel from Oldbury early in 2016, which will remove 99 per cent of the radiological hazard from the site.”

At the start of defuelling each reactor held a total of 25,826 fuel elements, each measuring 43 inches in length which, if placed end to end, would stretch to 17 and a half miles.