UK decommissions its first reactor

20 June 2011

The UK has successfully completed a 20-year programme to decommission its first nuclear power reactor the Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (WAGR).

The WAGR was built in the early 1960s to serve as a test bed for further development of advance fuel and other components and to provide operational experience of power production and was the forerunner to the UK’s second generation of power reactors. It was owned and operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and later by Babcock International Group plc which, up until January 2011, managed the decommissioning project.

The decommissioning programme came to a conclusion at the end of May 2011 after the final section of the Outer Ventilation Membrane was safely removed from the reactor’s concrete bioshield.

Ian Cowan, Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (WAGR) project manager said: “Completion of Campaign 10 is a significant milestone for the WAGR Decommissioning project and draws to a close twenty years of work to safely dismantle, process and place into passive storage an industrial scale power generating nuclear reactor”.

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