Massive boilers stop traffic


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The Independent Online

A village came to a standstill today as the first of five massive boilers - each weighing more than 25 buses - trundled slowly through the streets to be shipped off for recycling.

Roads in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, were temporarily closed to traffic, telephone wires were lifted and street furniture moved.

The operation was launched to accommodate transporters carrying the 310-tonne boilers from the nearby Berkeley power station.

The convoy moved at no more than walking pace as the first of the boilers - measuring nearly 70ft - made its way to Sharpness docks a few miles away.

It will then be loaded on to a barge and taken to Portbury Docks, near Bristol, for the start of a sea journey to Sweden, where all five will be melted down and sold as scrap metal.

Berkeley site director Steve McNally said: "The removal of these boilers is a huge skyline change for the site and is a great achievement for team Berkeley and importantly our customer, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

"We have managed to remove legacy waste from the site instead of leaving it for future generations to manage.

"This project also has great environmental credentials, as the majority of the metal will be free-released into the marketplace for reuse."

Berkeley, which is part-way through decommissioning, will be the first former nuclear power station in the UK to remove its boilers and send them for recycling.

Specialist lifting equipment was used to load the boilers, which are classified as low-level radioactive waste, on to the purpose-built transportation vehicles.