IT has featured in a Dr Who episode, and Top of the Pops but after more than 40 years of powering the nation Oldbury Power Station has started the long road of decommissioning.

Last Thursday, June 30 Oldbury Power Station’s Reactor 2 finished generating electricity.

After 43 years of operation, the reactor shutdown at midnight in line with the station’s agreed operating plan.

Reactor 2 was originally planned to close in December 2008, but working with independent regulators the site managed to extend this date until 30 June 2011, protecting hundreds of jobs on the site.

Reactor 1 at the site will continue to operate until the end of 2012 under permission from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Phil Sprague, Oldbury Site Director, speaking last Thursday said: "This is a historic day for Oldbury and all of its staff, past and present. Reactor 2 has operated safely and provided the UK with a vital source of power for over four decades, something that everyone who has worked at the site should be very proud of.

"It is a testament to the skill and dedication of the workforce who have operated and maintained the reactor to such a high standard that it has been able to generate safely for such a long period of time.

"I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have been involved with operations at Oldbury during this time."

Reactor 2 first generated electricity for the UK in April 1968 and has produced more than 65TWh, terawatt hours, of electricity in its lifetime – the equivalent of powering a million homes for over ten years.

The decision to close one of Oldbury’s two reactors for the final time was taken proactively by Magnox, who operate the plant, because it has reached the end of its operational life and because limited fuel stocks do not allow both reactors to continue to operate.

Brian Burnett, head of programme for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns the site, said: "Oldbury has a long and proud history of safely generating electricity. Our thanks go to the Magnox workforce who have been extremely committed to maximising the plant’s generating life, ensuring it was able to continue past its original planned closure date. Its income has been valuable in supporting our mission to decommission the UK’s first generation of civil nuclear sites."