UK's Oldest Operational Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down

Wylfa power plant

The U.K. shut down its oldest operating nuclear reactor at the end of 2015 after nearly 45 years of operation.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said Magnox Limited's 1-GW Wylfa 1 reactor in Wales shut down Dec. 30, 2015. It was the last of 26 operating Magnox reactors built in the U.K. starting in the 1950s. Wylfa 1 began operations in 1971. Wylfa 2 shut down April 2012, and the fuel rods have already been removed from the reactor and will be reprocessed.

Wylfa 1 was scheduled to shut down in September 2014, but continued operations through an innovative method of moving partly used fuel from one reactor to the other since the manufacturing of Magnox fuel ceased in 2008. The Inter-Reactor Fuel Transfer required approval from regulators.

Defueling of the unit will start in mid-2016, and full-scale decommissioning activities are expected to begin in late 2018 after all of the fuel is removed.

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