Didcot A power station
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Didcot A Power Station is a four-unit, 1920-megawatt (MW) subcritical coal-fired power station owned by RWE nPower and located in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. The plant was closed in March 2013 with the decommissioning and demolition likely to take several years. It is located adjacent to Didcot B power station, a 1,460 MW power plant fueled by natural gas.
A vote was held in Didcot and surrounding villages on whether Didcot A should be built. There was strong opposition from Sutton Courtenay but the yes vote was carried, due to the number of jobs that would be created in the area. Building was started during 1964, and was completed in 1970 at a cost of £104m, with up to 2400 workers being employed at peak times.
The 4 x 480 MW power station burns mostly coal, but also co-fires with natural gas. Didcot was the first large power station to be converted to have this function. In addition, a small amount of biomass, such as sawdust, is now burnt at the plant. This was introduced to try to depend more on renewable sources following the introduction of the Kyoto Protocol and, in April 2002, the Renewables Obligation. It is hoped that biomass could replace 2% of coal burnt. Between 2005 and 2007 Didcot installed overfire air systems on the four boilers to reduce emissions of Nitrous Oxide.This ensured compliance with the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive.
Some ash from Didcot A is used to manufacture building blocks at a factory on the adjacent Milton Park and transported to Thatcham (near Newbury, Berkshire) for the manufacture of Thermalite aerated breeze blocks using both decarbonized fly and raw ash, but most is mixed with water and pumped via a pipeline to former quarries in Radley.
October 26-29, 2009: Twenty arrested at Didcot A power station
On October 26, 2009, nine climate change protesters climbed the chimney, and eleven chained themselves to the coal delivery conveyors; the latter group were cut free by police after five hours, but the former waited until October 28 before coming down again — all twenty were arrested, and power supplies continued uninterrupted. The power station was installing improved security fencing at the time. The action was intended to draw attention to the plans of RWE Group to build as many as 30 new coal-fired power stations across Europe, including two in Britain. The group took over a room at the power station and pitched tents on top of a chimney tents. Two specialist climbers entered the chimney flues, intending to remain for a week in order to prevent the plant from restarting; however, after encountering hot conditions, they were unable to stay. At 4 a.m. on October 29, the group voluntarily came down from the chimney and were arrested. The group had met at Climate Camp in London.
November 2, 2006: Greenpeace protest
On the morning of Thursday 2 November 2006, 30 Greenpeace volunteers invaded the power station. One group chained themselves to a broken coal-carrying conveyor belt. A second group scaled the 200 metre high chimney, and set up a 'climate camp'. They proceeded to paint "Blair's Legacy" on the side of the chimney overlooking the town. Greenpeace claims Didcot Power Station is the second most polluting in Britain after Drax in Yorkshire, whilst Friends of the Earth describe it as the ninth worst in the UK.
Retirement scheduled for 2013
In 2012, RWE nPower said it will close two power plants at the end of March 2013 to meet the conditions of the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive: the Didcot A Power Station and the 1,000 MW Fawley oil-fired power station, both in the south of England.
On March 22 2013 RWE announced that the plant had been disconnected from the grid after having run for its total entitlement of 20,000 hours after opting out of the EU Large Combustion Directive.
Articles and Resources
- Sloan, Liam (29 October 2009). "Didcot tower is 'taken'". The Oxford Times. Oxford: Newsquest (Oxfordshire) Ltd: 3.
- David Adam, "Didcot power station protest ends with arrests," The Guardian, October 28, 2009
- "Climate campaigners shut down one of UK's biggest power stations". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
- "Carbon Dinosaurs". Friends of the Earth. Archived from the original on 2004-10-19.
- "German utility to close 2 highly polluting power plants in U.K.," Reuters, Sep. 18, 2012.
- "Powering the nation for 43 years – farewell from Didcot A Power Station", RWE npower, Media Release, March 22, 2013.
- Graham Thompson,"Blair's legacy to be demolished", Greenpeace UK, March 22, 2013.
- Power Stations Visits — Didcot A
- Power Stations Visits — Didcot A for students
- APMS: Advanced Plant Management System
- Architectural views
- Other CCGTs in southern England