End of an era - Demolition for Didcot cooling towers

Three of the iconic cooling towers at Didcot Power Station are being demolished - changing the skyline of the Oxfordshire town forever.

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Tweeting for Didcot: Demolition of the cooling towers


Gone in a flash. Didcot power station's massive chimneys come tumbling down

In a cloud of smoke and with a thunderous blast three historic towers were demolished today after dominating the Thames Valley's skyline for more than four decades.

The three southern towers of Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire were brought down by nearly 400lbs (180kg) of explosives in a matter of seconds. Hundreds of local residents were up all night to get the best vantage point to see the towers come tumbling down

The decision to demolish the towers in the early hours of the morning angered some locals, with a petition to change the timing gaining more than 3,000 signatures. Didcot town council had also expressed its disappointment but npower said the timeslot between 3am and 5am had been chosen for safety reasons, taking into account the risk of people getting too close to the explosion, and the impact of the dust cloud on local roads and a nearby rail line.

Warning sirens were sounded 15 and then 10 minutes before the explosion at 5am. During the build-up to the explosion #DidcotDemolition was trending on Twitter, and one Oxfordshire resident said: "This has gotta be Didcot's most momentous occasion since we won the FA vase".

The coal-fired power station ceased generating in March last year after dominating the skyline around the town since 1970, with the neighbouring gas-fired Didcot B continuing. The towers' appearance was not universally appreciated with many people finding them an eyesore. Whtaever your point of view, the journey along the A34 will never look the same.

Didcot residents say the towers will be missed.

Didcot Power Station has provided electricity to nearby homes for 40 years. But the coal-fired towers, forming part of the complex, were forced to shut down when new European rules over greenhouse gases came into force two years ago. The plant will be removed in stages with the southern cooling towers getting the first blast. The rest of it will go by 2016. Our reporter Asana Greenstreet has been talking to resident Kathleen Essex, who says the view has become part of her everyday life.

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