Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 15:11 UK

Nuclear decommission green light

Wylfa nuclear power station
The site operators still hope to extend the life of Wylfa beyond 2010

Nuclear inspectors have approved plans that will see one of Britain's oldest nuclear power stations closed.

Under current proposals, the Wyfla plant on Anglesey will stop generating electricity in 2010.

The 100 year programme of decommissioning the site will then get underway.

However, the station's operators say they are still continuing to work on a bid to extend the generating life of the plant beyond 2010.

If successful, that would delay the start of the decommissioning process by a number of years.

But Magnox North, who manage the site on behalf of its owners, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), said Thursday's approval on the decommissioning process was the culmination of nearly three years work.

The site was legally required to draw up plans for the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on how to deal with dismantling the nuclear reactors, and how to deal with the radioactive material left behind when electricity production finally ends.

"This is a key milestone for Wylfa and something the site has worked hard to achieve," said site director, Greg Evans.


Until 2015 - Remove spent nuclear fuel rods
2015-2025 - Care and maintenance preparations
2025-2116 - Site left in maintenance state
2116-2125 - Final site clearance
Source: NDA

"Although we are working hard to extend the period of electricity generation at Wylfa, obtaining this consent demonstrates that we are responsibly planning for our future, whilst delivering all of our current obligations to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and our local environment safely and responsibly."

The decommissioning proposals for Wylfa include binding conditions on protecting the environment and wildlife, and ensuring that the process does not become a noise nuisance for the island.

The plans have also been out to public consultation for nearly a year.

But the demise of Wylfa, which has been operating since 1971, is unlikely to mean the end of nuclear power on the island.

Land next to the plant has already been earmarked by the UK government as a preferred site for a new nuclear power station, which it is hoped could be up an running before the end of the next decade.

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