Decommissioning of the UK's Wylfa nuclear power plant on the island of Anglesey will begin in the new year. The plant will be closed by 30 December, after 44 years of operation.
Wylfa's operator, Magnox, said there will be a 100-day "cool down" period before full decommissioning gets underway and the nuclear fuel is removed. Wylfa, which started producing electricity in 1971, was originally scheduled to stop in 2010 but has had a series of extensions. With its closure, more than 150 of the remaining 500 staff will lose their jobs by April 2016.
It is currently running low on the specialised nuclear fuel Magnox. In April the used fuel will be taken to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing over a period of two to three years. By 2026 just the reactor building and fuel stores will be left.
Plans are in place for a new plant, Wylfa Newydd to be built on a site opposite the existing nuclear plant. In October plans for the reactor at Wylfa Newydd completed the "safety and security" assessment stage. Horizon Nuclear Power, part of Japan's Hitachi, which aims to build the new plant, expects to submit detailed plans for approval in 2017. This would be followed by first concrete being poured in 2020 and operation by 2025.