Fast Reactor Fuel Arrives at Sellafield

The first batch of unused fuel for the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) at the UK’s Dounreay site has been transported to Sellafield as part of the site’s defuelling program.

Dounreay PFR - 460 (DSRL)

The Prototype Fast Reactor at Dounreay (Image: DSRL)

The PFR fuel arrived at Sellafield in Cumbria yesterday, Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) announced.

The company said the latest fuel shipment from Dounreay – the UK’s former centre of fast reactor research – was part of a program that started in 2001 following the decision to shut down the site. The program, it said, is expected to take several more years to complete.

The removal of the first PFR fuel from Dounreay follows the completion earlier this year of the first phase of transports of breeder material from the Dounreay Fast Reactor to Sellafield.

DSRL’s director of operations for the transport, Alex Anderson, noted: “Each fuel move requires a great deal of preparation and co-ordination across the industry, regulators, government and police.”

Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor was the second and last fast reactor to be built in the UK. The success of the experimental fast reactor at Dounreay led the British government in 1966 to order a prototype fast reactor power plant.

Construction began in 1968 and the 250 MWe PFR went critical in 1974 and generated power for the UK grid from 1976. It was built as the prototype for a new generation of UK advanced reactors but did not perform to expectations. It was shut in 1994.

Decommissioning PFR is due for completion in 2026.

Source: World Nuclear News

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