Wylfa Power Station has been given the go-ahead to transfer fuel between its reactors, enabling electricity generation to continue until September 2014, almost four years beyond its original closure date.
Following several independent reviews, the site has been permitted to continue using one reactor, transferring partially used fuel from Reactor 2 to Reactor 1. The move has been given approval from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and is supported by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Inter-Reactor Fuel Transfer (IRX) has already been used at Oldbury and has now been successfully trialled at Wylfa. Wylfa had originally planned to shut down in December 2010, but an opportunity was identified to continue producing electricity for a further period. Reactor 2 was shut down in April because of limited fuel stocks, following the final shipment of Magnox fuel – which is no longer manufactured – to the site in 2011.
Brian Burnett, NDA’s Head of Programme for Magnox, said: “Wylfa’s continued generation is excellent news and will deliver significant additional revenue to support our clean-up mission. My thanks go to Magnox for all its hard work in helping to make this happen.”
The additional income from Wylfa and Oldbury, which closed in February after generating electricity for four years longer than originally scheduled, is so far estimated to be worth around £600 million.
Stuart Law, Wylfa Site Director, said:
“It is a credit to the staff who have supported Wylfa throughout its 41 years of generation and I look forward to working with them through the final phase of generation at Wylfa– the IRX phase.”
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, said: “Wylfa has been generating electricity for homes across the country for over four decades now. This move, based on comprehensive safety assessments, is good for our energy security. It will enable Wylfa to continue generating for two more years, safeguarding jobs and bringing in additional commercial income, which will help contribute to the costs of our nuclear decommissioning programme management of the nuclear legacy.”
Wylfa is the only Magnox site still generating electricity, following the closure of Oldbury Power Station on 29 February 2012. It is also the largest and last reactor of its type to be built in the UK.