Hazard reduction at the site of the UK’s former Wylfa NPP on Anglesey has reached a significant milestone, with 75% of the used fuel removed from the two reactors, Magnox Limited announced on 24 October. The fuel is transported to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing.

At the start of defuelling, the reactors contained almost 90,000 fuel elements, said Site Director Stuart Law. “We’re now down to 33,800 and have achieved record performances of retrieving 1000 fuel elements a week and shipping seven flasks in a week.”

It takes 24 hours to fill a flask with approximately 150 used nuclear fuel elements. The flask is then cleaned and checks are made to ensure that it is safe and compliant for onward transportation to Sellafield. There are now less than 200 fuel flasks still to process. Tim Dunham, Magnox Head of Nuclear Operations, said the site is totally focused on achieving its mission to be fuel free in 2019.

Once the reactors are empty, and all the fuel elements have been dispatched to Sellafield, over 99% of the Wylfa site’s radiological hazard will have been removed. Following the completion of the defuelling and subsequent verification, the site will move into preparations for Care and Maintenance, which focuses on de-planting buildings and retrieving, treating and processing any wastes.