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No reaction at nuclear generator

DEMOLITION experts were left scratching their heads after explosives failed to level a nuclear generator in Oxfordshire.

In the first ever detonation on a UK nuclear facility, the 40 m high generator at Harwell withstood a series of plastic explosives, thanks to just two reinforcement bars hidden in the concrete.

Contractor KDC consulted an engineer for three hours before returning to use traditional cutting equipment. Demolition that was due to have taken three seconds would have taken over three months to carry out manually.

KDC business development manager Peter Gilligan said: 'We always have a contingency plan. Once we had investigated safety angles we returned to the site to cut the bars mechanically.'

Despite the setback, John Wilkins, head of site at Harwell, said: 'We would have no hesitation in using a similar method again.'

The site is being redeveloped for commercial use.