Didcot power plant victims recovery delay ‘unacceptable’

Politicians in the UK have deemed the six-month wait for the recovery of bodies from the Didcot A coal-fired power plant ‘unacceptable.’

The February 23 incident, when the plant’s boiler house collapsed, claimed the lives of four men with the bodies of three of those demolition workers remaining so far unrecovered
The ruins of Didcot A coal-fired power plant
The search for the missing men resumed last month after the demolition of the remaining section of the boiler house.

Mayor of Didcot Steve Connel told the BBC, “I understand that you have to protect those people who are going in and keep them safe, but at the same time six months is unacceptable,” he said.

He added that ideas were being considered for a memorial to Ken Cresswell, John Shaw, Chris Huxtable and Mick Collings, such as renaming roads or building a permanent memorial on a roundabout.

Sarah Champion, Labour MP from Rotherham, represents two of the missing men’s families. Today, on the six-month anniversary of the accident, she called the delay in finding the bodies “a national scandal”.

She said: “The families have had to fight to keep the recovery on track, they should never have been forced into this position. They are as much victims of this disaster as their men who died. It is completely unacceptable that these men, carrying out their work in good faith, have paid with their lives.”

She called for the UK’s Health and Safety Executive to review its procedures and regulations in regard to demolition work.
An RWE Npower spokesman said contractors were “working seven days a week, 12 hours a day” and had cleared about half the debris pile.

She added: “Some parts of the structure have proven challenging to remove, largely due to the way in which the beams have been entangled within the debris pile.”

“If the demolition of the boiler house had gone to plan it would have taken the specialist demolition contractor at least six months to process the debris and clear the complete area.

“We understand how difficult the delay in recovering the men must be for their families and are fully committed to do everything we can.”

Didcot A closed in 2013 as a result of the European Commission’s Large Combustion Plant Directive. It had been in operation since 1970.

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