Reactor’s final de-fuelling misson begins

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MAGNOX North’s Chapelcross site has begun the next phase in its life with the start of final de-fuelling of Reactor 1.

The first fuel element was removed from the reactor core on August 18, beginning the active commissioning of the newly upgraded fuel route.

Approximately 40,000 fuel elements will be systematically removed from all four reactors and dispatched for reprocessing at Sellafield Site in Cumbria.

Magnox North was given formal permission from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) on the July 18, giving the go-ahead for work to start on removing all the spent fuel – which accounts for more than 99 per cent of the radioactive material held on the site.

Chapelcross is one of ten Magnox sites at various stages of their operational lifecycle being managed by EnergySolutions on behalf of the owners, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Dave Wilson, site manager, said: “The first element was successfully removed from the core on Monday afternoon, with the operation going safely and according to plan.

“This is the culmination of years of hard work by the workforce and significant investment in the plant to ensure defuelling can be carried out safely and efficiently.

“De-fuelling Chapelcross’ reactors will be the main focus of the site for the next three and a half years and is the next major step in decommissioning the site.”

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