Historic day for Didcot southern cooling towers – marking the end of an era

Alan Robinson: “Didcot A has played a vital role in ensuring security of supply for the UK for over 40 years. Our new gas stations are continuing where Didcot A left off by providing reliable, low-cost electricity

Yesterday marked an historic day for the Didcot landscape. At 5am Sunday 27th July, three of the six 100 metre tall Didcot A cooling towers were brought to the ground in less than 10 seconds.

Kevin Nix, Head of RWE Generation UK, said: ”Although this is a sad day and the end of an era in many ways, I am very pleased that the technically challenging demolition of the southern cooling towers has been carried out successfully and above all with the safety of all those involved, including the local community, as its highest priority. This is entirely due to months of pre-planning and the professionalism of the specialist teams involved.” 

The closure and demolition of the power station reflects the changing shape of power generation in the UK, with modern, low carbon power generation replacing older, less efficient power stations.

Alan Robinson, Chief Commercial Officer, RWE Generation stated: “In anticipation of the closure of older coal-fired power stations, such as Didcot A, RWE has invested strongly in modern gas-fired stations. Didcot A has played a vital role in ensuring security of supply for the UK for over 40 years. Our new gas stations are continuing where Didcot A left off by providing reliable, low-cost electricity.”

RWE has invested more than £6bn in the UK in new renewable technologies and state-of-the-art gas-fired power stations, which will continue to help keep the lights on whilst dramatically reducing environmental emissions.

Our specialist teams and our contractors, Coleman & Company, will now continue their hard work to ensure that the demolition of the rest of the site, including the northern cooling towers and the chimney stack, is safely completed by the end of 2016. The safety of the local community will continue to be their priority.

Steve Boughton, Head of Business Development, RWE Generation UK said:

“I would like to thank all our teams of experts across the business - RWE Generation, RWE Technology and our support teams - for their professionalism and hard work which has resulted in the safe and successful demolition of these first three cooling towers. This marks the first explosive milestone in the ongoing demolition of Didcot A site, which will take three years to complete. For everyone involved in this project, many of whom are members of the local community themselves, this occasion provides the opportunity for quiet reflection on Didcot A's 42 years of successful local operations. This is something which I know our operational and project teams alike feel passionately proud of."

RWE's gas-fired power station, Didcot B, will continue to play a role in the local landscape of Didcot and will mean that Didcot will remain a centre of electricity generation for many years to come. The demolition of Didcot A Power Station will have minimal impact on Didcot B power station, a modern, efficient 1,400MW combined cycle gas turbine power station that provides enough power to meet the needs of around 1 million households. 

Mark Coleman Managing Director for Coleman & Company said, ”Today’s demolition has been delivered on schedule, safely and with minimal disruption. We would like to thank all of our stakeholders for supporting us throughout the planning and execution of the explosive demolition, in particular Thames Valley Police, Highways Agency, Network Rail, Local Councils and Health & Safety Executive. “

RWE Generation UK announced the closure of the 2,000MW coal-fired Didcot A Power Station in September 2012 after 42 years of service. The station closed on 31st March 2013 and the nine month decommissioning process finished in November last year.

The Film of the demolition of Didcot A (english version)

Der Film über die Sprengung von Didcot A (german version)