OLDBURY Power Station looks set to keep powering the nation until December 2012.

Operators at the 42-year-old nuclear plant are hoping to extend its life for a further 18 months.

Phil Sprague, site director, said his team was currently working on a safety case to extend its life span until the end of next year. Both reactors one and two at the site were due to shut down on June 30 this year.

However, Magnox, which runs Oldbury, hopes to transfer all remaining fuel that is available into reactor one and continue producing electric.

Mr Sprague said: "There isn’t enough fuel to continue generating in both reactors, so we will transfer into reactor one.

"We are currently making a case to continue generating in reactor one until December 2012, we’ve already completed two out of the four safety cases, which are already with the regulator."

Reactor two will still shut down on June 30, as previously agreed to the industry’s regulators.

Oldbury’s two reactors were supposed to shut down in December 2008, but this deadline has been extended several times protecting the 460 workers at the site.

Oldbury is now the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the world because of its continued generation.

Mr Sprague said keeping Oldbury going for another 18 months, as well as Magnox’s site in Wylfa, which will keep going until 2014, would make a further £1 billion for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which would help pay for the country’s nuclear clean up bill.

He said: "Oldbury is a key part of this and it’s generation is a key part of this funding programme. It’s not just continuing to produce carbon neutral electric but supporting the environment by helping to pay for decommissioning."

Despite its age Mr Sprague said Oldbury was in a good state to keep generating power.

A decision is due to be made on continued generation at Oldbury by the Office for Nuclear Regulation by the summer.