Calder Hall defuelling begins

8 November 2011

A six-year programme has begun to remove fuel from the UK's Calder Hall, the world's first civil nuclear power production plant.

Charge floor of one of Calder Hall's four reactors
Charge floor of one of Calder Hall's four reactors

It follows just a few weeks after another industry first for Sellafield, with the decommissioning of the Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor in the summer, which was the first time a power producing reactor had been safely dismantled in the UK.

The Calder reactors have been inoperative since 2003 when the pioneering station closed down after 47 years.

In 2007 the iconic Calder Hall Cooling Towers were demolished.

However, the spent fuel has remained in place until now. The overall defuelling programme is expected to take up to six years during which the fuel will be removed from the reactors and transferred elsewhere on the Sellafield site for reprocessing.

Upon completion, the reactors and associated infrastructure will progressively be decommissioned to enable the site to enter into a ‘care and maintenance’ phase.

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