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UK closes last Magnox nuclear reactor

04 January 2016

Britain closed its oldest nuclear reactor after 44 years of service on December 30. Closure of the Wylfa 1 reactor in Anglesey, Wales, leaves Britain with 15 AGR reactors, all of them operated by France's EDF. The site will now undergo defuelling as part of its permanent closure.

Wylfa nuclear power station - Image: Magnox Ltd
Wylfa nuclear power station - Image: Magnox Ltd

Wylfa 1 received a 5-year life extension in 2010, while Wylfa 2 was permanently shut down in April 2012.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority chief executive John Clarke said: "I am proud of the team's innovative work that made this extended operational life possible, but the time has come to finally switch her off and move into the decommissioning phase."

The 490-megawatt units were the last and largest of the 26 Magnox reactors built across Britain and started operations in 1971. The first, at Calder Hall in Cumbria, was opened in 1956.

Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Japan's Hitachi, plans to build two new reactors at an adjacent site with operations expected to begin in the early 2020s.

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