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Date set for Didcot collapse section demolition

Power station collapse Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption The Health and Safety Executive and police are investigating the collapse

The final section of Didcot Power Station's boiler house will be demolished on Sunday - despite opposition from families of men killed when it collapsed.

Only one body has been found since the plant partially collapsed in February, killing four men.

Efforts to recover the three remaining bodies were halted amid fears of a further collapse.

The men's families had opposed plans to use explosives for the demolition.

Steve Hall, son-in-law of victim Ken Cresswell, previously said: "We want the men back in one piece, not many pieces."

The remains of the boiler house at the Didcot A plant will be brought down between 05:30 and 07:30 BST.

'An untried system'

Remote-controlled vehicles will be used to place explosive charges at the base of the building's columns.

RWE Npower described the operation as "extremely complicated", and said the recovery operation will resume as soon as the building is demolished and the area declared safe.

The editor of Demolition News, Mark Anthony, said using robots to plant explosives was "unproven" in the industry.

He said: "The entire demolition world is watching it with interest... because it's an untried system.

"The main concern is to get the building down, get it down safely, and allow the recovery operation to take place.

"But over and above that from a technical standpoint it will be interesting to see how it is carried out and how successful it is."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The cause of the collapse is being investigated jointly by police and the Health and Safety Executive
Image copyright RWE
Image caption RWE Npower sent letters to local residents

Earlier in the week, the firm sent letters to people living nearby informing them preparations for the demolition had started.

It said noise from the explosion would last "about a minute" and any airborne dust would not be harmful "but could cause a nuisance".

It warned members of the public to not attempt to enter the site "for safety reasons and out of respect for the families of the three men involved in this incident".

Michael Collings, 53, from Brotton, Teesside, Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, were killed in the collapse.

Mr Collings' body was recovered soon after, but family members have criticised the length of time it has taken to find the other three.

John Howley, the uncle of Mr Cresswell, described it as "diabolical".

Labour MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion also branded it a "national scandal".

Roads in the area will be closed during the blast.

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