UP to 130 jobs could go at Berkeley Power Station in the next year.

Sean Sargent, the new site director for the Berkeley nuclear site, has announced that staffing levels at the plant, which currently stand at 230, will be reduced over the next 12 months.

Speaking at the Berkeley and Oldbury Joint Stakeholder Group meeting, held last Wednesday, November 4, Mr Sargent said that the site was nearing the care and maintenance stage and therefore less workers would eventually be needed.

Care and maintenance is the final stage of decommissioning when a licensed nuclear site is left for more than 100 years before final site clearance can take place.

He said: "We have 230 staff at Berkeley at the moment and for care and maintenance you need around 100.

"We plan to drop to a number between the two over the next 12 months.

"We are entering a quiescent stage. Berkeley is 50 years old and is reaching the end of its design life and we have got to make sure that maintenance is up together."

However, on a more positive note Mr Sargent said he was also able to inform the meeting that plans for an above ground Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) Store were to go ahead.

Plans for the ILW store were shelved in October 2007 after a reduction in funding from the Government to the National Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which is responsible for clearing the site up.

Nuclear bosses had said a delay in building the store would mean a delay in entering the care and maintenance stage because current underground capacity for ILW at Berkeley was insufficient.

David Warner, NDA site programme manager for Berkeley, said: "Last year was a good year for the NDA's commercial income. We get half our money from the government through grants and aid and half through commercial operations.

"We had a good performance at neighbouring Oldbury, which brought in money from electricity generation.

"We have been working hard to make the case to use some of this money to advance the NDA's mission of decommissioning."

Berkeley Power Station was the country's first commercial nuclear power station to start decommissioning in 1989.