TEAMS at Bradwell Power Station have completed a huge clean-up operation to prepare the site for decommissioning.

Site operator Magnox originally said the plant would be completely decommissioned by 2015 but it is now likely to be in 2019.

In December the company admitted work is not “as far advanced” as expected and would continue beyond its “initial ambitious target”.

The power station stopped generating electricity in March 2002, after running for 40 years.

The latest milestone has seen the completion of four years’ work to decontaminate the site’s ponds – which are used to temporarily store and cool used nuclear fuel.

In 2012 the ponds were drained and stabilised and work has since been undertaken to move redundant equipment and decontaminate the associated buildings.

Trevor Frost, Ponds Project Manager, said: “This has been a major achievement in preparing the site for eventual closure. During the project more than 2.5km of pipework was deplanted and more than 120 tonnes of metal waste was recovered and appropriately disposed of.”

One of the next phases of work will be to demolish the redundant ponds building and remaining ancillary buildings, followed by installation of weatherproof cladding over the remaining buildings.

In June the two main reactor buildings were shrouded in aluminium cladding with more than 28,000 individual fittings used.

It marked the biggest change to the site’s appearance since it was built in the 1950s.