Bradwell Power Station has reached another significant milestone in its decomissioning journey.

The cooling ponds at the nuclear power station, which was in operation between 1962 until 2002, and still employs 700 people, have now been drained and decontaminated, edging it closer to the care and maintenance stage that is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Some 3,000 cubic metres - more than an Olympic-sized swimming pool - have been drained from the ponds, which were used for cooling spent fuel when the site was in operation.

In 40 years, the site and its two reactors supplied the National Grid with 60 billion units of electricity - enough to supply the whole of the UK for 6 months or Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend for four decades.

Alan Walker, Ponds Programme manager, said: “This is a massive achievement in what has been an extremely complex and significant project for Bradwell - one that we have completed ahead of schedule.

“It has been a huge success for the ponds team who have pioneered this innovative approach to decommissioning.

"The important knowledge we have gained will be shared across Magnox to deliver pond clean-ups at other UK nuclear sites.”