Final nuclear fuel flask leaves former Oldbury power station


A single fuel flask leaving OldburyImage copyright: Magnox

The last flask of nuclear fuel from the former Oldbury power station reactor has been sent for reprocessing.

The site was shut in 2012 after 44 years of operation, during which it produced 137.5TWh of electricity.

Operators Magnox said the final fuel shipment marked the “end of an era” but added “work was far from complete”.

Oldbury now moves to a decommissioning phase aiming to make the site “safe and secure” and free of radioactive hazard by 2027.

Oldbury Nuclear Power Station

85 years until decommissioning process ends

  • 52,000 fuel elements removed since 2012
  • 7,000 kg of boron dust also removed
  • 403 people still working on-site
  • 44 years of generating power

Mike Heaton, the site director, said: “It has not been an easy task and the work at Oldbury is far from complete, but today is a significant landmark in the journey towards care and maintenance.”

Each flask carried some 200 fuel elements, and since de-fuelling began four years ago 286 flasks have been taken away from the site to be reprocessed at Sellafield in Cumbria.

This final batch of fuel elements has been in storage in a cooling pond at the site since being removed from the reactor last October.

The exterior of Oldbury
Image caption: The reactor buildings will not be pulled down until radiation levels have subsided

Oldbury facts:

  • Site operational from November 1967 to February 2012
  • Two reactors generated 137.5TWh of electricity, enough for a million homes over more than 20 years
  • Preparations are being made for the site to enter a Care and Maintenance phase between 2027-2092
  • The predicted site end state is 2101

Source: BBC News


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