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Sizewell A and B
Sizewell A RIP
On 31st December 2006 the twin reactors at Sizewell A nuclear power station are being turned off. From 1st January 2007 there will be no more electricity generated by the Magnox plant on the Suffolk coast.
The power station is credited with saving Leiston from industrial death. The town's main employer Garrett's engineering had provided work for around 2,000 people at its peak in the early 20th century. By the 1950s this had dropped to around 500.
Some people see Sizewell A as a concrete monstrosity which they won't miss looking at, but social historians see it as saving the area.
All that remains of Garrett's is the Long Shop Museum. The museum's Stephen Mael says nuclear power saved the town: "Many people look back with great affection at those times. A lot of people left Garret's and moved across to the power station. Nightclubs were opening, the pubs were full and people were started new relationships."
Work on Sizewell A began in 1961 and the it became fully operational in 1966. The plant has had its scheduled 40 year lifespan so BNFL is now beginning the decommissioning process.
A similar lifespan is anticipated for its modern neighbour Sizewell B. British Energy began generating electricity there in 1995 and expects to commence decommissioning at the 'golf ball' in 2035.
Leiston man Ron Geater says nuclear power was seen as a boon in the 1950s: "Nobody had any fears or worries about it in the early days. People only started to have concerns when things went wrong elsewhere such as Three Mile Island."
Opponents of nuclear power are hopeful replacement jobs can be found in the renewable energy sector in Suffolk. For a feature on the future of Sizewell B and a possible Sizewell C read the 'Sizewell and the Nuclear Future' feature on the right>>
last updated: 18/06/2008 at 17:17
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