Nuclear

Closing the Doors on the World’s Oldest Operating Reactor: Oldbury power station shuts down

Issue 3 and Volume 5.

(1) Oldbury construction in 1961. All photos courtesy of Magnox Ltd.
(1) Oldbury construction in 1961. All photos courtesy of Magnox Ltd.

Magnox’s two-unit, 434 MW Oldbury power station, considered to be the world’s oldest operating nuclear power station, ceased generation at 11 a.m. on Feb. 29, 2012.

(2) Construction activities in 1963.
(2) Construction activities in 1963.

After 44 years of safe operation, the site has generated over 137.5 TWh of electricity.

(3) Construction continues in 1964.
(3) Construction continues in 1964.

In November 2011, the decision to shut down Unit 1 was taken after consideration by operators Magnox, EnergySolutions – the owners of Magnox Ltd., – and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The companies said the decision was made on the grounds that further operation was no longer economically viable.

(4) Oldbury construction in 1965.
(4) Oldbury construction in 1965.

Originally, Oldbury was due to shutdown in 2008. Since the scheduled closure date, the plant has generated an additional 7.4 TWhrs of electricity.

(5) The turbine hall at Oldbury.
(5) The turbine hall at Oldbury.

“EnergySolutions are proud to have been part of that journey – including the site’s recent life extensions – and we look forward to working with all at Magnox in the coming years as the focus shifts to safe defueling, decommissioning, and clean-up,” said Richard Waite, president, UK and Europe, EnergySolutions.

(6) Interior of a reactor.
(6) Interior of a reactor.

In 2011, Oldbury was recognized for its safety culture by being one of 54 organizations who were awarded the British Safety Council’s Sword of Honor. The winners were recognized as having exemplary health and safety systems that are among the best in the world.

(7) Oldbury Power Station.
(7) Oldbury Power Station.

“Oldbury has been a terrific success story for the UK nuclear industry. We have generated safe, carbon-free electricity for 44 years which is a remarkable achievement when you consider that the original plant design life was just 25 years,” said Phil Sprague, Oldbury Site Director.

(8) Operation of the Pond Skip Crane.
(8) Operation of the Pond Skip Crane.
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