THE electricity generated by Bradwell Power Station may have stopped, but the nuclear site’s legacy will last far longer.

The power station is being decommissioned at a cost of £1.8billion, with the site not expected to be fully cleared until 2104.

As the Government considers whether to build a new power station at Bradwell, these figures come as a timely reminder of how long, and how much money, it takes to make a nuclear site safe again.

On the other hand, the station produced enough power for the equivilent needs of Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend for 40 years.

It also employed more than 450 members of staff, mostly from the local community.

Bradwell Power Station was built in 1957. It began generating electricity in 1962 and continued operating up until 2002.

Magnox South began its work on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in October 2006, with the defuelling phase of the clean-up process expected to last until 2027.

From then to 2095, the care and maintainance of the process takes place, before the final site clearance, which is due in 2104.

John Grierson, deputy site director at Bradwell, said talk of a new power station next door would not affect their work and he said the site was prepared to deal with protesters.

He said: “We would have to consider the impact it could have on what we do, but it shouldn’t affect our work.

“Something will be going on there, but it should be far enough away from us.

“If there is a new build and protesters come to the site, we have contingency plans for that. We know what they will do and will attempt to do. Our biggest challenge with a new station would be retaining staff. A lot would probably want to go there and help the construction.”

More than 270 people are still employed at Bradwell, with local contractors also drafted in to help when their services are needed.

One of the major jobs this year is work to clean and drain the ponds of sludge.

Justin Barnes, projects field co-ordinator, said when the power station was in operation fuel elements would come down from the reactor and drop into a skip that was then moved underwater into the main pond area.

He said: “This would allow it to be stored until it could be dispatched to Sellafield for processing. Material would gather on the bottom, so we need to remove that.”

It is hoped the process will be completed by April 2010.

Other work which needs to be done includes starting up a radioactive waste management facility and demolition work.

Environmental concerns have always been a priority at the site.

The station is part of the Marine Society’s Adopt-a-Beach scheme. Tree saplings donated by staff have been planted on a nature trail at the site and when a pair of peregrine falcons nested on a reactor roof last year, work in the area had to stop as they are a protected species.

It has also made donations to local projects such as Bradwell Childrens’ Drama Group and Maldon Pantomime Society.

Perhaps surprisingly for a man involved in running a nuclear power station, John Grierson believes the future of power-generation should come from a mix of sources. He said that should include wind, gas, coal and nuclear, but it remains to be seen what is next in Bradwell’s power-hungry history.