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Magnox Reactors (Decommissioning)

Volume 981: debated on Monday 24 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what studies have been undertaken by his Department into transport needs arising from decommissioning of Magnox reactors in existing nuclear power stations in Wales;(2) what is his estimate of the wastes arising from each stage of the decommissioning process of existing Magnox reactors at nuclear power stations in Wales;(3) what study his Department has undertaken on the management and disposal of radioactive waste arising from the decommissioning of existing Magnox reactors in nuclear power stations in Wales; and what is his estimate of the time scale of each decommissioning stage as follows: (

a) removal of fuel coolant and control system, ( b) reduction to minimum size outside the biological shield, and ( c) complete removal to leave site safe for unrestricted future use.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1980, c. 98]: I am advised by the CEGB that there are at present no detailed plans for the shutting down and dismantling of any of the Magnox reactors at nuclear power stations. The board's current policy is to operate these stations for as long as possible consistent with their safety and economic viability. There are good prospects that the two nuclear power stations in Wales, Trawsfynnydd and Wylfa, will continue operating into the 1990s.It is expected that first stage of decommissioning, the removal of fuel which contains most of the radioactivity, will be completed in the first few years following shutdown. The second stage, reduction to minimum size outside the biological shield, might then be completed within a decade of shutdown. Dismantling and disposal of the reactor structures may be delayed for a further period to allow their activity to decay to a low level. Decisions on these matters will be taken in the light of the circumstances prevailing at each station, bearing in mind costs, safety environmental aspects and the possible need to reuse the site.Transport arrangements for the movement of radioactive material, including irradiated fuel and radioactive wastes, will, as now, be subject to compliance with the relevant safety requirements. Current requirements are contained in the IAEA standards for the safe transport of radioactive materials.