What is the Coal Power station : Stella?

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The Stella power stations were a pair of coal-fired power stations located in the North Eastern side of England. The two stations stood on either side of the River Tyne. The South Stella power station was close to Blaydon in Gateshead and the North Stella power station was in Lemington in Newcastle. The power stations were operated by Central Electricity Authority (1954–1957), Central Electricity Generating Board (1957–1990) and National Power (1990–1991). The Stella power stations stood as a landmark in the Tyne valley for almost 37 years.



What factors contributed to the construction of the Stella Coal Power Stations?

At the end of World War II, Great Britain witnessed increasing demand for power. In the north eastern side of England, new power stations were commissioned to meet huge power shortages. Power stations like Dunston and Billingham were constructed. Along with these power stations, the Stella power stations were built. The name originated from the nearby Stella Hall which was a manor house. The Stella power stations operated after the nationalization of the British electrical supply industry. 



Who were recruited for the Stella Power Stations' project?

The Stella power stations were designed by Newcastle upon Tyne-based architects L J Couves & Partners. Actual construction work began in 1951. The Cleaveland Bridge Company got the contract. They constructed the main buildings, turbine halls, boiler houses, workshops and warehouses. The switchgears of the Stella power stations were manufactured by A. Reyrolle & Company. British Royal Navy frogman Lionel “Buster” Crabb was responsible for carrying out all the underwater electrical work of the power stations. The Davenport Engineering Company constructed the North station's cooling towers and ancillary buildings. P.C. Richardson & Company built the stations' brick chimneys. Aiton & Co. installed the power stations' low-pressure piping equipments. 



What was the size of the Stella Power Stations operation?

The Stella South power station had a generating capacity of 300MW. It was built on the site of Blaydon Races. The first generating sets became operational on 20 December 1954. The Stella North power station had a comparatively low generation capacity of 240MW. The electricity produced from the two coal power stations were supplied to the big industries located in the County Durham, Tyne, Northumberland and Wear. The power stations were so huge that their cooling towers and chimneys were visible from far away. Steam trains were employed to supply coal. Flat iron barges were used for dumping fly ash. In the year 1991, the power generating capacity of the North Stella power station was reduced to 224 MW. By the end of 1992, both the Stella power stations were demolished.  In 2005, the site was reclaimed for the construction of an industrial/business park, "Newburn Riverside".



What was the environmental impact of the Stella Power Stations?

The regions in and around the Stella power stations were badly affected. The water temperature of the river between Scotswood and Ryton rose by 1.5 degree Celsius due to the discharge of cooling water from the power stations. This led to thermal pollution. As a result, basking sharks were known to be attracted to the area. However, warm water did not affect the passage of migratory fish. In 1976, more than 800,000 tonnes of fly ash were dumped in the North Sea. Fly ash made the sea bed inert and killed fishes. This created problems for the fishing industry. Moreover, harmful smoke was emitted from the power stations. The Union Hall housing estate was exposed to a concentration of 1.25 parts per million of sulfur dioxide gas for more than 18 days in a year.

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