Reactor 2 was originally planned to close in December 2008, but, working with independent regulators, the date was extended until 30 June 2011. It was announced last week that Reactor 1 will be able to continue operating until the end of 2012 following confirmation from the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) that it had no objections to the site’s plans for extended generation.
Reactor 2 first generated electricity for the UK in April 1968 and has produced over 65TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity in its lifetime – the equivalent of powering a million homes for more than 10 years.
The reactor had reached the end of its operational life and limited fuel stocks do not allow both reactors to continue to operate. Manufacture of the uranium fuel used at Oldbury ceased in 2008.
Dr Brian Burnett, NDA’s Head of Programme, said:
“Oldbury has a long and proud history of safely generating electricity. Our thanks go to the Magnox workforce who have been extremely committed to maximising the plant’s generating life, ensuring it was able to continue past its original planned closure date. Its income has been valuable in supporting our mission to decommission the UK’s first generation of civil nuclear sites.”
Phil Sprague, Oldbury Site Director, said:
“This is a historic day for Oldbury and all of its staff, past and present. Reactor 2 has operated safely and provided the UK with a vital source of power for over four decades, something that everyone who has worked at the site should be very proud of.
“It is a testament to the skill and dedication of the workforce who have operated and maintained the reactor to such a high standard that it has been able to generate safely for such a long period of time.
“I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have been involved with operations at Oldbury during this time.”
During its lifetime Reactor 2 also starred in several television shows, including Doctor Who and Blake 7, and even featured on Top Of The Pops when the group Slade recorded a performance for the show on the pile cap.
Oldbury and Wylfa, on Anglesey, are the only two remaining Magnox reactor sites still operating in the UK.