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Nuclear core removal work begins in Dorset

Nuclear plant

Work to remove a nuclear core at the UK’s only water-cooled reactor has begun at a plant in Dorset following months of preparation.

Management and operations contractor Magnox has started the final decommissioning stage at the former Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR) on the Winfrith site.

The project – due to finish early next year – involves removing 1.5km of stainless steel pipework and rehearsals using full-scale mock ups of the plant.

“It is the mission of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to ensure the safe and efficient clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy, and therefore this milestone at Winfrith is an important step forward,” said Nuclear Decommissioning Authority chief executive John Clarke.

“With a project as demanding and complex as this one, it is important to consider the options carefully. The Magnox programme team have been thorough in exploring the safest and most cost-effective approach to this project as it moves towards completion next year.”

Significant decommissioning work over the last two years has already seen major assets removed from the reactor, including the heavy water circuits, cooling water circuits, pumps and pressure relief valves.

After the SGHWR complex is demolished, the site will eventually be returned to heathland.

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