Defuelling starts at Calder Hall

03 November 2011

Operations to remove the fuel from the two shut down Magnox reactors at the Calder Hall plant at Sellafield have finally started. The four 50 MWe units at Calder hall - the world's first industrial-scale nuclear power plant - were closed in 2003 after 47 years of operation. Its four cooling towers were demolished in 2007, but the used fuel rods have remained in place in the reactors since they last generated power. The overall defuelling program is expected to take up to six years, during which time the fuel will be removed from the reactors and transferred elsewhere on the Sellafield site for reprocessing. Once all the fuel has been removed, the reactors and associated infrastructure will progressively be decommissioned to enable the Calder Hall site to enter a 'care and maintenance' phase when the reactor buildings are placed in a passive state and are monitored and maintained until the site is later completely cleared. The decommissioning of the Calder Hall plant is not officially slated for completion until 2117 under this scheme.