Generations of workers gather to see Hinkley Point B close after almost 50 years

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Nuclear power plant Hinkley Point B in Somerset has shut down after almost 50 years of producing electricity.

The site, which dominates the West Somerset coastline, has been the UK's most productive nuclear plant since it opened in 1976.

Current and former members of staff gathered today (1 August) to watch as a plume of steam signalled the reactor being shut down, before the station is defueled and decommissioned.

Hinkley Point B has been part of the Somerset landscape for decades. Credit: PA

Former staff member Phil Sherrif, who has worked at the plant since its beginning, said: "I was here on the day one of turbine seven generating power to the grid. I had to close the switch in the control room that day."

Speaking of his mixed feelings as the power plant officially closes, he said: "It's a sad day in many ways, but 46 years of generating huge amounts of electricity with minimum impact on the environment and the local area, it's not bad is it?"

"It's quite an achievement and I'm just proud to be a part of the Hinkley Point story. I've played a small part in it", he added.

The nuclear plant has played a vital part in the life of one family, the Uminski's.

Father Des Uminksi has worked there for 35 years, and more recently, his two children have started their careers there.

Des Uminksi (right) has worked at both A and B since he was 16. His son, Sam, (left) works at B and daughter Jasmine (middle) works at C.

Des has worked at both Point A and B since he was 16. His son, Sam, joined him as an engineer at point B and his daughter Jasmine works at Point C, as it's built.

He said: "I think it's testament to the opportunities that this industry can offer.

"It's kept me here for 35 years, it's kept me busy and on my toes", he said.

While the plant is going to stop producing power, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the site.

Dave Stokes, communications officer at Hinkley Point B said: "The plan is to defuel both of the reactors in three and a half years.

The simulator of Hinkley Point B's control room. Credit: ITV News West Country

"These transporters will take that spent fuel to Bridgwater railhead where it then gets transported to Sellafield.

"You just have to keep telling yourself there's an awful lot to look forward to.

Mark Langston, work management group head said: "It's going to be really interesting moving into decommissioning.

"But after 24 years of a generating site, it's going to be a big change for us."