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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Tall chimneys come down to earth
The chimneys at the power station will be razed to the ground
The chimneys at the power station will be razed to the ground
The Belfast skyline has changed forever with the demolition of three of the city's tallest chimneys.

The 240ft chimneys, which overlooked Belfast Lough, have been brought down in a series of controlled explosions at 1900 BST on Friday.

They belonged to a power station which closed in 2002. Once Ireland's largest power station, it produced 240 megawatts of electricity at its peak.

Public access to the demolition site was restricted for safety reasons.

Robin Greer of Northern Ireland Electricity said it was a landmark event.

Power station facts
7,000 piles were used to build it
600,000 tons of coal was burnt annually
Two 30mw and three 60mw generators powered it
Four cranes each unloaded 150 tons of coal an hour

"The demolition of the chimneys not only changes the Belfast skyline, it marks a new opportunity for power generation in Northern Ireland," he said.

"Once the demolition project is completed, the site will be kept in a landbank reserved for future electricity generation."

Power Station West, which cost 15m to build, was the largest electrical generating plant in Ireland when it opened in 1961. It employed more than 400 people.

Largest plant

It was bought by NIGEN in 1992 following privatisation of the power stations across Northern Ireland.

Since its closure, NIE has been responsible for managing the site, including the decommissioning and demolition of the power station.

It was prepared for demolition over the past 18 months. The rest of the site will be demolished over the next eight months.

Power stations in Northern Ireland are not operated by NIE but were sold to a range of bidders in 1992.

Typically 60% - 80% of an electricity bill is generation costs.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The demolition of the three chimneys





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