UK celebrates 60th anniversary of the first nuclear power station

Calder Hall opening ceremony 1956
Calder Hall opening ceremony 1956

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of Calder Hall in West Cumbria which was the world’s first commercial nuclear power station. The first reactor on the site was connected to the grid in an opening ceremony by the Queen on this day in 1956 and the four reactor Magnox station ran until 1947. It heralded the first generation of nuclear power stations with a further 10 Magnox power stations built in the UK, a total of 26 reactors in total, before they were superseded by the AGR reactors.

Decommissioning on Calder Hall is now well underway, defueling operations started in 2011 and the two large cooling towers were demolished in 2007. An exhibition marking the anniversary has also been opened at the Beacon museum in Whitehaven which shows the transformation of West Cumbria that has been achieved by the nuclear industry.