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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Nuclear plant shutdown approved
The government has given the go-ahead to decommission the Sizewell A nuclear power station, which has been in operation for 40 years.

The Health and Safety Executive granted consent to Magnox Electric - which runs the facility - to dismantle it once it stops generating at the end of 2006.

The buildings, plant and equipment from the site will all be removed - during a process which could take decades.

The 430-megawatt plant is one of the UK's ageing Magnox fleet of reactors.

Radioactive discharges

Members of the public and individuals from 60 organisations were part of a consultation process, which ended in February.

During decommissioning, radioactive discharges into the air and sea will continue, but it will be less than when the site was operational, experts claim.

In a statement on Thursday the HSE stated that conditions are attached concerning mitigation measures to prevent, reduce and, where possible, offset adverse environmental effects.

The HSE concluded the environmental benefits will far outweigh any problems and that there will be no significant effects on other countries.

The nuclear power station Sizewell B is set to continue operating for at least another 10 years, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.

The Sizewell A plant is the fifth nuclear power station site at which HSE has granted consent for decommissioning under the regulations, the others being Hinkley Point A, Bradwell, Chapelcross and Calder Hall.

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