Reactor 1 at the Oldbury nuclear power station in the United Kingdom will stop generating electricity in February 2012, ten months earlier than originally planned, operator Magnox Ltd has announced.

“The decision was made on the grounds that further operation of one of the world’s oldest nuclear reactors is no longer economically viable,” owner the Nulcear Decommissioning Authority said in a statement. Oldbury reactor 1 started operation in November 1967.

The decision was taken after careful consideration by Magnox, NDA and also the independent regulator the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Phil Sprague, Oldbury Site Director, said: “Oldbury’s excellent generation history is a terrific success story, especially as the site was originally planned to close in 2008.

“As a result of excellent teamwork between Magnox, the NDA and ONR the site’s operational life was extended until February 2012, and it is a testament to the skill and dedication of the workforce who have operated and maintained the reactors to such a high standard that it has been able to continue to generate safely.

Following the end of generation the site will move through a transition period into defueling of the reactors before decommissioning begins.

Reactor 2 at Oldbury was shut down on 30 June 2011, in line with its agreed operating limits.