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As dawn broke, the towers came tumbling down

Radley’s southern horizon has been irrevocably altered. At almost exactly 5.00am on the 27th of July, as dawn was breaking, three of giant cooling towers at Didcot A Power Station, the easternmost group as seen from Radley, quietly descended below the horizon (as marked by the roofline of the boilerhouse in front) … followed by silence and no emerging cloud of dust.

The event marked the first phase of the demolition of the power station’s main structures following the closure of the power station last year.

Didcot 'A' Power Station photographed from Radley just after midnight on 27th July 2014 by B Crowley

Didcot ‘A’ Power Station photographed from Radley just after midnight on 27th July 2014 with the three eerily-lit doomed cooling towers still standing for all to see

 Then, as dawn broke, the towers came tumbling down…

The stack and boiler house following demolition of the cooling towers on 27th July 2014. Photograph by B Crowley.

The view from Radley of where the three cooling towers once stood, immediately after their demolition at 5am on 27th July.

 

View of Didcot A Power Station on morning of 27th July 2014. Photograph by B Crowley.

The same view in full daylight on the morning of July 27.

 

The closure came as a consequence of the European Large Combustion Plant Directive 2001/80/EC (the LCPD). This set out emission limits for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates and gave operators of existing power stations two options, either to “opt in”, by committing to upgrading those power stations failing to meet the emission standards by a preset date and to maintaining them within those limits thereafter; or to “opt out”, in which case the plant could continue to operate but would be limited to 20,000 hours of operation after 31st December 2007 and would have to shut down completely by the end of 2015, at the latest. RWE npower, the operators of the Didcot power stations decided that it would not be cost effective to upgrade Didcot ‘A’ power station, which was, in any case, at end of life. As an “opt out” power station under the LCPD, Didcot “A” reached it’s 20,000 hour limit in March 2013. It should be noted that, contrary to many recent press reports, the LCPD has little or nothing to do with limiting CO2 emissions; the LCPD is about reducing acidification, not greenhouse gases. (Indeed, by reducing efficiency, the LCPD is likely to have increased CO2 emissions from old power stations.)

The demolition of the station following closure is a condition of the station’s planning permission, and the operators clearly have no wish to vary this.

 

Didcot 'A' Power Station as seen from Radley on the morning of 27th July after the demolition of the three easternmost cooling towers. Photograph by B Crowley.

The New View. The Didcot Power Stations as seen from Radley on the morning of 27th July after the demolition of the three easternmost cooling towers.

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/as-dawn-broke-the-towers-came-tumbling-down/