THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS
|Safety first - Oldbury Nuclear Power Station |
Out West investigates Oldbury Nuclear Power Station, the new generation of British
weightlifters, and the 'Strawberry line' cycle route which was once a railway
How safe is Oldbury Nuclear Power Station?
Gloucestershire plant has already been going for 12 years longer than planned
so is there anything to worry about?
Inside Out West has uncovered documents
that raise fresh concerns about the continued operation of the ageing Oldbury
Nuclear Power Station on the banks of the River Severn.
Using the Freedom
of Information Act, the programme team has obtained a series of letters about
the state of the reactor's graphite core.
They show that over time the
graphite blocks have lost more than a third of their weight, prompting new fears
about their strength.
Independent nuclear expert John Large says, "These
documents represent a compromise on nuclear safety.
"Some of these
plants are now 30 to 40 years old. Clearly they were designed for a much shorter
life than what BNFL are eking them out to be.
"They were designed
for a 30 year life. Now they are eking them out to 40 plus years. Thats
where the compromise is."
But bosses at the power station claim they
carry out regular testing to ensure safety isn't being compromised.
Lamonby, the Manager of the station, says, "Weve got no evidence that
any of the graphite is shifting.
"Were talking about a structure
here of 50,000 bricks, about 2000 tonnes. We regularly inspect it. Weve
got no evidence of any cracks in the reactor."
The power station is
due to be decommissioned in 2008, by which time it will have been in operation
for 15 years more than originally planned.
Nine times British Weight Lifting Champion.
times British Power Lifting Champion.
Five times World Power Lifting Champion.
Eight World Masters Power Lifting Records - 1999- 2002.
Gold Medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Represented Britain in three Olympic
Games: Mexico 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976.
Current World Masters
Power Lifting Champion.
Weightlifting legend Precious
McKenzie has returned to Bristol to nurture an exciting new talent.
sized Precious was said to be the Queen's favourite athlete, winning four consecutive
gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
He won his third Gold Medal at the
1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games, and his fourth consecutive Gold Medal in
Now, a new star is emerging from the same gym in Bristol,
hoping to follow in his footsteps.
Bradley Burrowes is already the British
And, with the support of Precious, he's hoping that he too can
take gold at the Commonwealth Games.
For almost a century, the 'Strawberry line' carried fruit and passengers
from Cheddar over the Mendips and across the Somerset Levels to join the main
line at Yatton.
Now there's a fantastic cycle route and footpath which
follows the route of the old railway.
Tessa Dunlop has been exploring the
path, enjoying a basket full of strawberries along the way.