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Harwell Location

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Harwell Site 

OX11 0RA

Tel. 01235 820 220

For NDA Harwell Office details click here

Harwell was established in 1946 as Britain’s first Atomic Energy Research Establishment. The site accommodated five research reactors of various types. Harwell also had a number of other nuclear research facilities, together with plutonium handling facilities, radioactive laboratories, nuclear waste treatment and storage facilities.

Decommissioning is well underway – two of the reactors have been completely removed, and the fuel has been removed from the remaining three which are now being decommissioning. More than 100 other facilities have been removed from the site and others are being decommissioned. Historic wastes are being retrieved from their existing storage locations and repackaged for longer-term storage - and eventual disposal. It is expected that decommissioning will be completed by 2025.


Age Operated from 1946 - 1990
Site Stakeholder Group Harwell Site Stakeholder Group
Site Licensee Research Sites Restoration Ltd
Parent Body Organisation UKAEA Ltd (owned by Babcock International Group (BIG) Limited)
Status Decommissioning
Cost - Lifetime
(total discounted nuclear liability)
£1,180m (for Harwell and Winfrith)

 * The costs of discharging the nuclear liability will be incurred over a significant period of time. To take account of the time value of money, the costs are "discounted" back to a present value. Effectively this is the amount that would need to be invested today, at a set rate of interest (the discount rate) in order to pay for the liability in the future as it falls due.

Year Key Activities


Final site clearance achieved

2032 Site closure phase begins


Reactor decommissioning complete


Primary facilities decommissioning complete

Progress against this year's targets

Status as at end of financial year 2012/13 (Progress against Quarter 1 of 2013/14 will be reported in July 2013)

Site Restoration

Target Status Commentary

Care and Maintenance of redundant reactors and other facilities

On target

2012/13 target complete

Decommissioning of Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant (LETP)

Behind target

Target for 2012/13 missed

Nuclear Materials

Target Status Commentary

Progress the capability to transfer materials off site

On target

2012/13 target complete

Integrated Waste Management

Target Status Commentary

Recovery, processing and packaging of solid ILW

On target

2012/13 target complete


Safety and Environmental Performance

Status as at end of financial year 2012/13 (Progress against Quarter 1 of 2013/14 will be reported in July 2013)

Nuclear Safety
Industrial Safety
Environmental Safety