DECOMMISSIONING at Bradwell power station could continue until 2019, despite promises it would be finished this year.

The power station stopped generating electricity in March 2002 after 40 years and it was expected to be completely decommissioned by 2015.

But site operators Magnox have now admitted work is not “as far advanced” as expected and would continue beyond their “initial ambitious target”.

At a meeting of the Local Community Liaison Council earlier this month, councillors, partners and members of the public were updated on the progress of the plan.

Maldon District councillor Adrian Fluker, who attended the meeting said: “Up until recently we were told that the decommissioning process would be completed by the middle of 2016, Cavendish Fleur the new contractor is now saying that the process will now not be completed until the middle of 2019 and that upwards of 500 people will remain on site until the middle of 2018 - the reasons behind this weren’t made very clear.

“I was pleased to hear the site director confirm that no nuclear waste from other sites will be processed at the site but am still very unhappy that intermediate-level waste from other sites will be stored at Bradwell’.

Following decommissioning the power station will enter a care and maintenance stage where the buildings will be kept passively safe and secure.

A spokesman for Magnox said: “Although it has been clear for some time that some areas of the Bradwell Site are not as far advanced as expected and that some work will continue after our initial ambitious target, we still expect to bring the closure date forward from the originally proposed date of 2027.

“Overall there have been many successes in the Bradwell programme which has piloted new ways of working and new technologies for waste treatment and storage.

“There have also been, and continue to be, challenges but other Magnox sites are now benefiting from the learning of this ambitious programme.

“Taken together with the new technologies and strategies introduced by our new owners we expect that accelerating the closure of Bradwell will save the UK many millions of pounds and result in significantly faster hazard reduction across the other Magnox sites.”