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Calder Hall defuelling begins
04 November 2011
The latest stage of decommissioning Calder Hall, the world's first civil nuclear power producing plant opened by the Queen in 1956, is underway with the removal of the first batch of spent fuel from the reactors.
Recognising this important of the milestone Dr Ian Hudson, the NDA's Head of Programme for Sellafield, said:
"Calder Hall is a name synonymous with nuclear power and its contribution as a pioneer of the industry cannot be overstated. The defueling of Calder Hall is a key part of our overall programme of safely decommissioning the first fleet of UK nuclear power stations. This current stage builds on the successful cooling tower demolition and asbestos strip. I congratulate the team on safely and successfully reaching this milestone and look forward to continued progress."
Stuart MacVean, NMP's Executive Director, Spent Fuel Management at Sellafield added
"The start of this process represents a key moment in Sellafield's history and, following on from the recent WAGR project, is another significant achievement in making the site cleaner, safer, and more efficient."
The removal of the first fuel rods marks the beginning of a six year programme to remove fuel from the reactors and follows the recent completion of decommissioning the Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor, the first time a power producing reactor had been safely dismantled in the UK.
The Calder reactors stopped producing electricity in 2003 when the pioneering station closed down after 47 years of meeting the UK's power demands. However, the spent fuel has remained in place until now. The overall defuelling programme is expected to take up to six years during which the fuel will be removed from the reactors and transferred elsewhere on the Sellafield site for reprocessing. Upon completion, the reactors and associated infrastructure will progressively be decommissioned to enable the site to enter into a 'care and maintenance' phase.