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Brown and Mason to demolish Didcot cooling towers

Brown and Mason will carry out the demolition of the three remaining cooling towers and the chimney stack at Didcot A Power Station, Construction News understands.

The chimney is around 200 m tall while the three cooling towers are just over 114 m tall each.

Brown and Mason has previously been on site at Didcot after being drafted in to replace Coleman & Company as principal contractor for the recovery operation.

The firm worked on units 1 and 2 of the collapsed boiler house, where four employees of former principal contractor Coleman & Company lost their lives following the collapse of part of the boiler house in February.

This contract came to an end recently following the recovery of the third missing worker, John Shaw, with a decision still to be made on which company would process the debris of units 3 and 4.

Units 3 and 4 comprised the portion of the boiler house that remained standing following the collapse, which was brought down in July using explosives and robotics by Alford Technologies.

Alford Technologies was brought in to work on the project in March, following the collapse in February. The firm used a fleet of 10 robots to plant 250 kg of plastic explosives at the site.

Last week RWE said there would be a full procurement process to choose a new contractor for remaining work on site.

But it is believed that this work refers solely to the processing of the debris of units 3 and 4 and preparatory site works.

Coleman & Co, which was acting as principal contractor at Didcot for client RWE when part of the boiler house collapsed in February, announced last week that it had been taken off the project.

In a statement, it said: “Coleman and Company can announce that we will not be continuing with the remaining demolition and site clearance work at Didcot A Power Station.

“We agreed with site owners RWE that this is in the best interests of all parties.

“We would like to thank RWE for their support over the last two years.

“All staff working at Didcot will be redeployed across the company, onto other major projects.”

RWE said that this was due to the ongoing investigation into the collapse being carried out by Thames Valley Police and the Health & Safety Executive.

Four men died in the partial collapse of the boiler house in February: Michael Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell and John Shaw, all employees of Coleman and Company.

The final body, that of John Shaw, was recovered on 11 September, more than six months since the initial collapse.

Brown and Mason and RWE declined to comment.

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