THE FINAL flask of fuel has been removed from the Oldbury Power Plant today, completing the site’s defuelling programme.

Magnox, who manage the site, has confirmed that the final batch of the 52,000 fuel elements removed through the defuelling process has been sent for reprocessing at Sellafield in Cumbria.

Staff, both past and present, gathered to wave off the fuel flask at the gates of the site, which operated between 1967 and 2012.

This step has enables the Oldbury site to move into its decommissioning phase with the aim of reaching care and maintenance by 2027, which will leave the site in a safe and secure state, with all the higher hazards stabilised or removed.

Mike Heaton, Oldbury Site director, said: “I am extremely proud of the whole team for working together to reach this important milestone in record time.

“It has not been an easy task and the work at Oldbury is far from complete, but today is a significant landmark in the site’s journey towards care and maintenance.”

Brian Burnett, head of programmes at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns the site, said: “My congratulations to the Magnox team at Oldbury for an excellent job achieved ahead of schedule.

“The dispatch of the final fuel flask from Oldbury is a significant hazard reduction milestone and marks the completion of a major programme of work as the site continues its journey towards entering Care and Maintenance."

Oldbury will now go through a workforce transition to enable it to refocus on decommissioning. Near-term work priorities include a mix of conventional and radiological projects to further reduce hazards on site.