31.12.2015_No257 / News in Brief

Last Magnox Nuclear Station Shuts Down In UK

Plant Operation

31 Dec (NucNet): The Wylfa-1 nuclear reactor in Anglesey, north Wales, was switched off yesterday after 44 years of electricity generation, five years after the plant’s original planned closure date.

The Wylfa nuclear station in Wales.

Magnox Limited, which operates the Wylfa site on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said Wylfa-1 was the last in a fleet of 26 reactors at 11 UK sites based on the ground-breaking Magnox design that led to the world’s first-ever industrial-scale nuclear power station.

The 490-MW unit began commercial operation in November 1971. The other unit at the site, Wylfa-2, began commercial operation in January 1972 and was permanently shut down in April 2012.

Magnox said that at the time of construction, Wylfa was the most technically advanced nuclear power station in the UK and the world’s most powerful, with the two units generating 1,000 MW combined output at their peak. By comparison, the first Magnox plant, Calder Hall in Cumbria, northwest England, which was opened by The Queen in 1956, had an output of 190 MW.

Originally, Wylfa-1 was due to shut down in 2010 but continued to generate for an additional five years. Magnox said this was made possible by a pioneering method of moving partly used fuel from one reactor to the other – the manufacture of Magnox fuel having ended in 2008. The inter-reactor fuel transfer, or IRX process, required approval from the regulators.

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David Dalton

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