UK to close Magnox Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield

19 May 2022

The UK’s Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield will stop reprocessing in July 2022 and enter a new era of clean-up and decommissioning, Sellafield said on 17 May. The plant, which began operating in 1964, has played a crucial role in UK energy generation. It received and reprocessed nearly 55,000 tonnes of used nuclear fuel from power stations across the country, and from Italy and Japan.

This allowed the UK’s 11 Magnox power stations to keep producing electricity. The final Magnox station closed in 2015. Used fuel from the UK’s current fleet of AGR NPPs will continue to be sent for storage at Sellafield.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) CEO David Peattie said: “The end of reprocessing at Magnox marks the successful completion of the NDA’s Magnox Operating Programme. It’s the culmination of decades of hard work to safely, securely, and cost-effectively manage the UK’s nuclear legacy. Sellafield can now move from the reprocessing phase of its life into a future focused on decommissioning and clean-up.”

Martin Chown, Sellafield CEO, said: “This is a landmark moment for Sellafield. When these operations end, we will have fulfilled our promise to conclude our reprocessing programme in a safe, secure, and environmentally-conscious manner. It’s a clear demonstration of us delivering our purpose to create a clean and safe environment for future generations.” He added: “Employee numbers in the plant will remain roughly similar during the post-operational clean-out phase. This is expected to take about two years. Anyone whose role is no longer required after this will be redeployed to other work within the company.

Image: The Magnox Reprocessing Plant on the Sellafield site

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