Didcot: Power Station Running Again After Fire

The company that runs Didcot B Power station says they're generating power again from part of the site that was affected by a huge fire last week.

Around 75 firefighters were called to deal with the blaze in 3 cooling towers the Sunday before last.

RWE Npower says the damaged part of the site is generating about half the amount of power it would normally.

Damage is still being assessed and, although some more capacity may be restored in coming weeks, it is not known when repairs will be complete and the module will be restored to full service, a spokeswoman added.

It comes a day after a National Grid report showed a series of recent fires and closures of power stations had increased the prospect of an energy crunch this winter and that unusually bad weather would see the UK struggle to keep the lights on.

The winter outlook report had already factored in the prospect of the affected module at Didcot returning to service this week.

German-owned RWE said in a statement that investigations continue into the cause of the fire at the gas-burning power station in Oxfordshire. No-one was injured.

Last week's blaze damaged the cooling tower at Didcot's Module 5 but caused no damage to the rest of the plant and Module 6 continued to operate at full capacity.

Roger Miesen, head of hard coal and gas at RWE Generation, said: "It's good news that Module 5 is back online so quickly.

"It will be available to generate power this winter and essential repairs will be in the region of single-digit million pounds.

"Didcot B, as part of RWE Generation's wider fleet, has an important part to play in contributing to the UK's security of supply.

"Our thanks go out for the fantastic response and dedication of the emergency services who worked alongside RWE teams to bring the fire under control quickly and safely.

``Huge credit is also due to the RWE site and central engineering teams whose expertise meant that we are able to bring Module 5 back into service after only nine days."

Didcot B can produce 1.4GW of electricity, enough to meet the needs of one million households.

The blaze was the latest to hit Britain's power capacity, with power stations at Ironbridge and Ferrybridge crippled by fires earlier this year.

UK supply has also been hit by plans to close Barking power station, while a planned return to service for four EDF nuclear reactors at Heysham in Morecambe, Lancashire, and at Hartlepool will see them come back at only 75% capacity.

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