Didcot power station fire under control

A serious fire at Didcot B power station in Oxfordshire has been brought under control by firefighters.

The fire broke out on the evening of October 19 in one of the two cooling tower modules at the plant.

According to plant owners RWE Generation, the module supplies cooling water to one of the two generating units at Didcot B and half of the station’s output has been affected.

The fire spread to three other cooling towers due to high winds but Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, called to the station at 2010, brought the blaze under control at 2200 and extinguished it at around midnight.

Firefighters are now dampening-down the affected area and are expected to remain on site for the next 24 hours. No injuries were recorded to either the emergency services or RWE npower personnel who operate the plant.

Simon Furlong, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: ‘This was a serious fire which began in one of Didcot B power station’s cooling towers and spread to three other cooling towers.

‘Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service responded to the scene and worked well to extinguish the fire. We work closely in partnership with the power station to ensure we have plans in place should an incident of this nature actually happen.

‘The fire itself was extinguished quickly – there are no reports of injuries, which of course is pleasing.

‘As at 10am on Monday we have three fire engines on-scene still, dampening down hot spots and we will continue to have a presence there for at least the next 24 hours.

‘An investigation has begun in conjunction with other agencies regarding the cause of the fire – I expect that it will take some time to determine the reasons behind what actually happened.’

Didcot B is a gas-fired power station that has been operating since 1997. The station is powered by natural gas and uses combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) to produce electricity up to 1,360MW of power.

The affected part of the site will remain non-operational until an investigation and repairs can take place. RWE said it is too early to give any definitive estimate of how long this will be.