AFTER four decades Oldbury Power Station has taken its last ever delivery of nuclear fuel.

The fuel was delivered last week from Springfields, near Preston, and marks a significant milestone in the site’s lifecycle.

In eight months time it is expected that Oldbury Power Station will stop generating power.

The first ever fuel loading took place on Reactor One at Oldbury on 25 July, 1967 and was done by hand. Since then all refuelling has been carried out by machines.

This last fuel delivery was subject to the same modern techniques as all other fuel deliveries, including detailed checks for manufacturing defects, before being loaded into the fuelling machine.

This machine removes the old fuel elements out of the reactors and at the same time replaces it with the new elements.

Chris Moseley, day ops support technician at Oldbury said: "This is a significant delivery for Oldbury as it marks the end of an era. Little did I know that I'd still be here to see the last fuel delivery."

Reactor One first produced electricity in November 1967 whilst Reactor Two started generating in April 1968.

Both Reactor One and Two are due to stop in June 2011, however, bosses at the site think that enough fuel will be left to fuel one reactor past the deadline well into 2012.

Joe Lamonby, the Oldbury site director, announced earlier this year that his team were making a safety case to industry regulators that one reactor could be kept going beyond June next year.

"This is great news for the country because we will have more low carbon electricity, and it is great news for the staff because it will mean continued employment," said Mr Lamonby.

Oldbury Power Station currently employs 460 members of staff. When Oldbury finally stops generating power staff levels will be reduced to between approximately 330 and 380, though a final figure is yet to be decided.