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Report - - Uskmouth B Power Station, Newport - March 2021 | UK Power Stations | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Uskmouth B Power Station, Newport - March 2021

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USKMOUTH B POWER STATION

I'd like to prelude this report by noting this post as the beginning of a two week stint of nothing but power stations from me. I may have been an absent character on this forum for a long time now, but I never stopped exploring.
The backlog is ridiculous but I'm back for good and I'm cleaning out my closet. What better way to kick it off than with 14 power stations?
I've got a lot of writing to do so I'll keep this introduction short and sweet... see you all tomorrow.


THE HISTORY:

Built in 1959, this little power station was built in the south of Wales at a strategic point for the National Grid, as there are few power stations down that neck of the woods. At the height of production this station produced 393 megawatts – enough to power 390,000 homes – and was considered one of the cleanest coal fired power stations in the UK. Alas, this title alone was not enough to slow the tide of the decline of coal over the 21st century and the plant burnt its last piece of coal in April 2017. The station lay dormant from then until 2022 when dismantlement began after plans for turning it into a Drax-style dual-fuel biomass plant all but fell through.

Contrary to common assumption, Uskmouth was not dubbed one of the cleanest coal power stations in the UK because of its small size and hence low natural emissions, but rather because of its addition of Flue Gas Desulphurisation equipment and low NOx burners. The former significantly helped to reduce acid rain by essentially filling the precipitators with limestone, which absorbs SO2 (the compound responsible for causing sulfuric acid to fall from the sky as rain).

THE EXPLORE:

One cold morning in March a couple years ago, @UrbandonedTeam @jtza Alex, @KPUrban_ and I headed to the south coast of Wales with the intent of getting another British power station under our belts… we certainly succeeded.

After a brief escapade involving a deflated boat, we crossed the encompassing body of water as Moses did the Red Sea, though perhaps with slightly less elegance and slightly more idiocy. Once across what felt at the time to be a moat, though in retrospect was no more than an aristocratic pond, we headed for the ominous structure that had been in our sights the whole time. Despite being just a small power station in comparison to other notable disused coal power plants in the UK, there is nothing that can quite compare to the sheer size of everything that you come across when entering a site such as this. From the coal conveyors to the ash hoppers, everything you come across is just so much bigger than you that it is easy to feel as if humans may merely be a cog in the machine rather than the operator of such an extensive, complex enterprise.

By 2am we’d ascended the conveyors, but lamentably we were no closer to being inside the turbine hall than when we’d had been sat in the car several hours beforehand. All the same, we had come with determination and we were prepared to battle whatever came in our way in order to tick this one off. It took nearly a further two hours to get into the boiler house, but we got in nonetheless. Walking into that turbine hall, a great sense of relief and achievement washed over all of us collectively. The red turbines met my eyes with the same warmth and affection as I imagine Hera’s infinite majesty met Zeus… and the rest is history.


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The power was still running throughout the site and most lights were still on.

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The control rooms were relatively small, corresponding to the plant’s smaller general size than other coal power stations of its era.


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Computer screens still ran, displaying the current status of the plant.


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The second control room had no power to its main lights, making it feel much more deserted than the previous.

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The screens still displayed the original Uskmouth control interface.

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The red colour scheme of the turbine hall continued into the boiler house.

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The backrooms of the power station still had remnants of past employees strewn throughout.

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The admin block was littered with documents left from the power station's active time.

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The chimney system of Uskmouth B contained FGD to reduce SO2 emissions.

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The new gas Severn Power Station built next-door on the site of the old Uskmouth A.

This explore was proof that it’s not about the size of the power station, but rather its character and what’s done with it. Uskmouth B was never going to be the biggest coal-guzzling plant in the country; it’s been dwarfed from birth by its siblings across the Prince of Wales Bridge, but that hasn’t prevented it from being one of my favourite explores to date. The experience from start to finish, as lengthy as it felt at the time, is a memory I will never forget and the awe and infatuating charm of the red turbines leaves this place as one of my most favourable spots.​
 

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