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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)|
|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.
Final site clearance achieved
|2032||Site closure phase begins|
Reactor decommissioning complete
Primary facilities decommissioning complete