EDF Energy has started removing the used fuel from the core of Hunterston B’s Reactor 3, an advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) that shut down in November 2021. Defuelling is the first stage of the nuclear decommissioning process. Defuelling the plant will involve removing more than 300 channels of fuel from each of the reactors. The fuel channels will be stripped and processed then taken to the on-site fuel storage pond to cool before being packaged into used fuel flasks and transported via rail to Sellafield, England. The first empty fuel plug unit has now been returned to Reactor 3 (R3). “Following the successful completion of its R3 pre-defueling outage, the station has now officially started defueling,” EDF Energy Managing Director of Generation Matt Sykes told employees. “This is an historic moment for our company, as the first of our AGR sites enters the next stage in the nuclear lifecycle.” The entire defuelling process is expected to take three years to complete, with the site then due to be handed over by EDF to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for its subsidiary Magnox to continue with the decommissioning. “To achieve this three-year target, an average of three flasks will need to be processed a week (compared to an average of one per week today),” Sykes said.
World Nuclear News 19th May 2022 read more »