October 8, 2013 / 11:36 AM / in 5 years

Magnox moves to extend lifetime of UK's oldest nuclear reactor

LONDON (Reuters) - Magnox Limited, the owner of Britain’s oldest nuclear power reactor, has submitted a proposal to the country’s nuclear regulator to extend the unit’s lifetime by 15 months to December 2015.

The 42-year old Wylfa 1 nuclear reactor in Wales is scheduled to shut down at the end of September 2014, but its operator has submitted a document to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) proposing to prolong operations.

“The PSR (periodic safety review) submitted to the ONR includes a review of the safe operation of the site for the next 10 years and includes generation to the end of December 2015 of Reactor 1,” a spokesman said.

The ONR confirmed it has received the PSR and said it aimed to respond to Magnox ahead of the reactor’s scheduled shutdown next year.

PSRs are typically carried out every ten years at nuclear power stations in Britain to prove plants are safe to run for another decade.

The 490-megawatt nuclear reactor started operating in 1971 next to its twin reactor Wylfa 2 which permanently shut down in April 2012.

In August 2012, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority gave the go-ahead for a fuel transfer between the two Wylfa reactors that allowed Wylfa 1 to continue operating.

Magnox fuel used at Wylfa nuclear power plant is no longer being manufactured.

A site adjacent to the current Wylfa plant has been earmarked to house new nuclear power installations and was last year bought by Japan’s Hitachi which plans to build two or three 1,300-MW reactors at the location.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Keiron Henderson

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