Chapelcross station, which was the world’s oldest operating nuclear power station, has ceased production after almost 45 years. British Nuclear Group (BNG) announced at the end of June that the company was bringing the closure forward from the scheduled 2008 closure date.

The decision followed an economic review of the operation of its Magnox reactor fleet, which concluded the plant was not economically viable. Mark Morant, managing director of BNG’s Reactor Sites business said: “As the world’s currently longest serving nuclear power station, Chapelcross has earned a rightful place in the record books as a faithful provider of electricity to southwest Scotland and the north of England. We are announcing the decision promptly to remove uncertainty within our workforce.”

Chapelcross nuclear power plant
Chapelcross was officially opened on 2 May 1959. The first of the 60MWe units started up early in 1959 and the fourth and last in December 1959.

Chapelcross and its sister station Calder Hall, were the prototype predecessors of nine consequent Magnox power stations later built across Britain from the 1950s onwards. The company’s remaining operating plants in Sizewell, Dungeness, Oldbury and Wylfa are slated for closure in the next few years.

Predictably, Greenpeace welcomed the closure, stating: “What we hope now is that BNG will apply the same financial criteria to the rest of its operations and close the reprocessing operations at Sellafield which are also uneconomic.”

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