Didcot Power Station

29 February 2012 15:33 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

In early Feb 2012, when there was no wind, the plumes from the Didcot Cooling towers were absolutely vertical.  Almost beautiful.

Prompted a bit of research about Didcot A, and how long it will remain.

Didcot A

Some sensible looking words about Didcot A ~ "Didcot A must close on or before 31st December 2015, as it has opted out of the EU Large Combustion Plants directive."

BBC News website  9 February 2009

Didcot A used 24 million cubic metres, while returning 17 million cubic metres to the river. This comes on top of more than one million cubic metres of Thames-treated mains water needed to top up the boiler water circuits.

"This works out at 3,000 to 3,500 cubic metres a day in town mains water," says Mr Waygood. "To put this into perspective, an individual is estimated to use 160 litres daily."

Mr Waygood looks quizzical and does a quick mental calculation: "We use in a day what 50 people use in a year [in mains water]".

"We know that there will be times when we won't be able to take enough to allow for all the units at Didcot A and B to run."

[Just as well it's not Nuclear then!!]


WikipediaDidcot A has opted out of the Large Combustion Plants Directive which means it will only be allowed to run for up to 20,000 hours after 1 January 2008 and must close by 31 December 2015. The decision was made not to install Flue Gas Desulphurisation equipment which would have allowed continued generation. After high generation levels in 2008, the amount of generation has since reduced significantly and it is unlikely that the running hours will be used before the station has to close.

However, studies are continuing, and there is a possibility that Didcot A might be modernised with new super-clean coal burning capabilities; RWE are partly involved in this study.

References include

I now see the Wikipedia quote comes from RWE / NPower

"Didcot A operates as an opted out station under the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). This means that Didcot A can operate for up to 20,000 hours between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015, when the station will have to close. But even though we've opted out at Didcot A, we're still working hard to bring down emission limits - we have recently invested over £80 million in plant upgrades to reduce our environmental impact."

 Fun videos

Energy Policy

Trust it as much as you wish, but the Wikipedia summary of Energy policy of the United Kingdom is probably more approachable that any of the formal government documents.


  • Oxford Mail 23 May 21012
  • NPower Press Release 18 September 2012
  • BBC News 18 September 2012
  • Oxford Mail 19 September 2012

    The cooling towers are likely to come down in the two years after decommissioning.

    She added: "There is no timetable yet for demolition and a detailed plan will be drawn up nearer the time it is due to start.

    "Once the demolition process starts it could be completed within months.

    "All six cooling towers will be demolished after coming to the end of their useful life."

    Town council leader Margaret Davies said: "RWE npower has already started planning for the future by trying to ensure that the cooling towers can't be listed buildings.

    "But this will be an empty brownfield site right on Didcot’s doorstep, and it needs to be redeveloped for future employment.

    "It's unlikely that the site will be used for housing because it could be contaminated.

    "Some people have a great affection for the cooling towers, but we need to make sure the site is properly redeveloped when Didcot A has gone."

    Didcot A power station manager Phil Noake, 59, from Abingdon, has worked at the site for 20 years.

    He said: "This is a time to reflect on the fantastic team we have at Didcot A power station, and say thank you to all those who have helped to deliver power to homes and businesses for over 40 years."

    About 210 staff work at Didcot A and power bosses said there could be job opportunities for staff in other parts of the company. Some workers could be involved in the decommissioning programme The closure reflects the national switch from coal-fired power stations to low-carbon power generation.

    RWE has invested more than £3 billion over the past three years in the UK and now runs the largest installed capacity of both renewable and flexible gas-fired power stations in the country.

    Gas fired Didcot B was built alongside the closing coal-fired station in 1997 and will continue to operate as normal.


    September 1970: Didcot A, with its six 325ft cooling towers, first generates electricity.
    1984: Miners from South Wales staged a round-the-clock picket at Didcot power station as part of a nationwide strike by coalminers.
    November 2006: Twenty-five Greenpeace campaigners break into Didcot A on the same day former Prime Minister Tony Blair visits the county. Protesters paint "Blair's Legacy" down the 650ft stack and the disruption to power generation costs £690,000.
    2008: Staff are told that Didcot A is likely to close by the end of 2015.
    October 2009: Twenty Camp for Climate Action protesters break into Didcot A and occupy the tall chimney and a coal conveyor.
    September 2010: Staff at Didcot A celebrate 40 years of generating electricity.
    May 2012: RWE npower reveals that Didcot A is likely to close in 2013, not 2015.
    September 2012: RWE npower confirm that Didcot A will close on March 31, 2013.

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