Magnox

Magnox

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For other uses of the term see Magnox (disambiguation)
Magnox (disambiguation)
Magnox can refer to:*Magnox nuclear reactors.*Magnox , an aluminium-magnesium alloy used for fuel cladding in Magnox type reactors.*Magnox Ltd, a company that operates Magnox nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom....

.


Magnox is a now obsolete type of nuclear power reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 which was designed and is still in use in the United Kingdom, and was exported to other countries, both as a power plant, and, when operated accordingly, as a producer of plutonium
Plutonium-239
Plutonium-239 is an isotope of plutonium. Plutonium-239 is the primary fissile isotope used for the production of nuclear weapons, although uranium-235 has also been used and is currently the secondary isotope. Plutonium-239 is also one of the three main isotopes demonstrated usable as fuel in...

 for nuclear weapons. The name magnox comes from the alloy
Magnox (alloy)
Magnox is an alloy—mainly of magnesium with small amounts of aluminium and other metals—used in cladding unenriched uranium metal fuel with a non-oxidising covering to contain fission products in nuclear reactors....

 used to clad the fuel rods inside the reactor.

General description



Magnox reactors are pressurised, carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 cooled, graphite
Nuclear Graphite
Nuclear graphite is any grade of graphite, usually electro-graphite, specifically manufactured for use as a moderator or reflector within nuclear reactors...

 moderated
Neutron moderator
In nuclear engineering, a neutron moderator is a medium that reduces the speed of fast neutrons, thereby turning them into thermal neutrons capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction involving uranium-235....

 reactors using natural uranium
Natural uranium
Natural uranium refers to refined uranium with the same isotopic ratio as found in nature. It contains 0.7 % uranium-235, 99.3 % uranium-238, and a trace of uranium-234 by weight. In terms of the amount of radioactivity, approximately 2.2 % comes from uranium-235, 48.6 % uranium-238, and 49.2 %...

 (i.e. unenriched) as fuel and magnox alloy as fuel cladding. Boron
Boron
Boron is the chemical element with atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B. Boron is a metalloid. Because boron is not produced by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth's crust. However, boron is concentrated on Earth by the...

-steel control rods were used. The design was continuously refined, and very few units are identical.
Early reactors have steel pressure vessels, while later units (Oldbury
Oldbury nuclear power station
Oldbury nuclear power station is a nuclear power station located on the south bank of the River Severn close to the village of Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. It is operated by Magnox North Limited, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority...

 and Wylfa
Wylfa
The Wylfa Nuclear Power Station is situated just west of Cemaes Bay on the island of Anglesey, North Wales. Its location on the coast provides an excellent cooling source for its operation...

) are of prestressed concrete
Prestressed concrete
Prestressed concrete is a method for overcoming concrete's natural weakness in tension. It can be used to produce beams, floors or bridges with a longer span than is practical with ordinary reinforced concrete...

; some are cylindrical in design, but most are spherical.
Working pressure varies from 6.9 to 19.35 bar
Bar (unit)
The bar is a unit of pressure equal to 100 kilopascals, and roughly equal to the atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level. Other units derived from the bar are the megabar , kilobar , decibar , centibar , and millibar...

 for the steel pressure vessels, and the two prestressed concrete designs operated at 24.8 and 27 bar.
No British construction company at the time was large enough to build all the power stations,
so various competing consortia were involved, adding to the differences between the stations; for example nearly every power station used a different design of Magnox fuel element.

On-load refuelling was considered to be an economically essential part of the design for the civilian Magnox power stations, to maximise power station availability by eliminating refuelling downtime. This was particularly important for Magnox as the unenriched fuel had a low burnup
Burnup
In nuclear power technology, burnup is a measure of how much energy is extracted from a primary nuclear fuel source...

, requiring more frequent changes of fuel than enriched uranium
Enriched uranium
Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

 reactors. However the complicated refuelling equipment proved to be less reliable than the reactor systems, and perhaps not advantageous overall.

Economics


The first Magnox reactors at Calder Hall
Sellafield
Sellafield is a nuclear reprocessing site, close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea in Cumbria, England. The site is served by Sellafield railway station. Sellafield is an off-shoot from the original nuclear reactor site at Windscale which is currently undergoing...

 were designed principally to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, in October 1952. It is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the UK ratified in 1968...

. The production of plutonium from uranium by irradiation in a pile generates large quantities of heat which must be disposed of, and so generating steam from this heat, which could be used in a turbine to generate electricity, or as process heat in the nearby Windscale works, was seen as a kind of "free" by-product of an essential process.

The British government decided in 1957 that electricity generation by nuclear power would be promoted, and that there would be a building programme to achieve 5,000 to 6,000 MWe capacity by 1965. Although Sir John Cockcroft
John Cockcroft
Sir John Douglas Cockcroft OM KCB CBE FRS was a British physicist. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for splitting the atomic nucleus with Ernest Walton, and was instrumental in the development of nuclear power....

 had advised the government that electricity generated by nuclear power would be more expensive than that from coal, the government decided that nuclear power stations as alternatives to coal fired power stations would be useful to reduce the bargaining power of the coal miners' unions, and so decided to go ahead. In 1960 a government white paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

 scaled back the building programme to 3,000 MWe, acknowledging that coal generation was 25% cheaper. A government statement to the House of Commons in 1963 stated that nuclear generation was more than twice as expensive as coal. The "plutonium credit" which assigned a value to the plutonium produced was used, initially secretly, to improve the economic case, although the operators of the power stations were never paid this credit.

Once removed from the reactor the used fuel elements are stored in cooling ponds (with the exception of Wylfa which has dry stores in a carbon dioxide atmosphere) where the decay heat is transferred to the pond water, and then removed by the pond water circulation, cooling and filtration system. The fact that fuel elements can only be stored for a limited period in water before the Magnox cladding deteriorates, and must therefore inevitably be reprocessed
Nuclear reprocessing
Nuclear reprocessing technology was developed to chemically separate and recover fissionable plutonium from irradiated nuclear fuel. Reprocessing serves multiple purposes, whose relative importance has changed over time. Originally reprocessing was used solely to extract plutonium for producing...

, added to the costs of the Magnox programme.

Later reviews criticised the continuing development project by project instead of standardisation on the most economical design, and for persisting with the development of a reactor which achieved only two export orders.

Safety



The Magnox reactors were considered at the time to have a considerable degree of inherent safety because of their simple design, low power density, and gas coolant. Because of this they were not provided with secondary containment
Secondary containment
Can refer to*Containment building - A type of building used with nuclear reactors*Secondary spill containment - a technique for dealing with hazardous spills*A possible requirement for Chemical tanks...

 features. A safety design principle at the time was that of the "maximum credible accident", and the assumption was made that if the plant were designed to withstand that, then all other lesser but similar events would be encompassed. Loss of coolant
Loss of coolant
A loss-of-coolant accident is a mode of failure for a nuclear reactor; if not managed effectively, the results of a LOCA could result in reactor core damage...

 accidents (at least those considered in the design) would not cause large-scale fuel failure as the Magnox cladding would retain the bulk of the radioactive material, assuming the reactor was rapidly shutdown (a SCRAM
Scram
A scram or SCRAM is an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor – though the term has been extended to cover shutdowns of other complex operations, such as server farms and even large model railroads...

), because the decay heat could be removed by natural circulation of air. As the coolant is already a gas, explosive pressure buildup from boiling is not a risk, as happened in the catastrophic steam explosion
Steam explosion
A steam explosion is a violent boiling or flashing of water into steam, occurring when water is either superheated, rapidly heated by fine hot debris produced within it, or the interaction of molten metals A steam explosion (also called a littoral explosion, or fuel-coolant interaction, FCI) is a...

 at the Chernobyl accident. Failure of the reactor shutdown system to rapidly shut down the reactor, or failure of natural circulation, was not considered in the design. In 1967 Chapelcross
Chapelcross nuclear power station
Chapelcross was a Magnox nuclear power plant located near the town of Annan in Dumfries and Galloway in south west Scotland. It was the sister plant to Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, both commissioned and originally operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.The primary purpose of...

 experienced a fuel melt due to restricted gas flow in an individual channel and, although this was dealt with by the station crew without major incident, this event had not been designed or planned for, and the radioactivity released was greater than anticipated during the station design.

In the older steel pressure vessel design, boilers and gas ducting are outside the concrete biological shield. Consequently this design emits a significant amount of direct gamma and neutron radiation
Neutron radiation
Neutron radiation is a kind of ionizing radiation which consists of free neutrons. A result of nuclear fission or nuclear fusion, it consists of the release of free neutrons from atoms, and these free neutrons react with nuclei of other atoms to form new isotopes, which, in turn, may produce...

, termed direct "shine", from the reactors. For example the most exposed members of the public living near Dungeness Magnox reactor in 2002 received 0.56 mSv
Sievert
The sievert is the International System of Units SI derived unit of dose equivalent radiation. It attempts to quantitatively evaluate the biological effects of ionizing radiation as opposed to just the absorbed dose of radiation energy, which is measured in gray...

, over half the International Commission on Radiological Protection
International Commission on Radiological Protection
The International Commission on Radiological Protection is an advisory body providing recommendations and guidance on radiation protection; It was founded in 1928 by the International Society of Radiology and was then called the ‘International X-ray and Radium Protection Committee’...

 recommended maximum radiation dose limit for the public, from direct "shine" alone. The doses from the Oldbury
Oldbury nuclear power station
Oldbury nuclear power station is a nuclear power station located on the south bank of the River Severn close to the village of Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. It is operated by Magnox North Limited, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority...

 and Wylfa
Wylfa
The Wylfa Nuclear Power Station is situated just west of Cemaes Bay on the island of Anglesey, North Wales. Its location on the coast provides an excellent cooling source for its operation...

 reactors, which have concrete pressure vessels which encapsulate the complete gas circuit, are much lower.

Reactors built



In all, 11 power stations totalling 26 units were built in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 where the design originated. In addition, one was exported to Tōkai
Tokai Nuclear Power Plant
The was Japan's first nuclear power plant. It was built in the early 1960s to the British Magnox design, and generated power from 1966 until it was decommissioned in 1998. A second nuclear plant, built at the site in the 1970s, was the first in Japan to produce over 1000 MW of electricity, and...

 in Japan and another to Latina in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 also developed their own Magnox reactors, based on the UK design which was made public at an Atoms for Peace
Atoms for Peace
"Atoms for Peace" was the title of a speech delivered by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the UN General Assembly in New York City on December 8, 1953....

 conference.

The first Magnox power station, Calder Hall
Sellafield
Sellafield is a nuclear reprocessing site, close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea in Cumbria, England. The site is served by Sellafield railway station. Sellafield is an off-shoot from the original nuclear reactor site at Windscale which is currently undergoing...

, was the world's first nuclear power station to generate electrical power on an industrial scale. First connection to the grid was on 27 August 1956, and the plant was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 on 17 October 1956. When the station closed on 31 March 2003, the first reactor had been in use for nearly 47 years.

The first two stations (Calder Hall and Chapelcross
Chapelcross nuclear power station
Chapelcross was a Magnox nuclear power plant located near the town of Annan in Dumfries and Galloway in south west Scotland. It was the sister plant to Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, both commissioned and originally operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.The primary purpose of...

) were originally owned by the UKAEA and primarily used in their early life to produce weapons-grade
Weapons-grade
A weapons-grade substance is one that is pure enough to be used to make a weapon or has properties that make it suitable for weapons use. Weapons-grade plutonium and uranium are the most common examples, but it may also be used to refer to chemical and biological weapons...

 plutonium
Plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

, with two fuel loads per year. From 1964 they were mainly used on commercial fuel cycles and in April 1995 the UK Government announced that all production of plutonium for weapons purposes had ceased.

The later and larger units were owned by CEGB
CEGB
The Central Electricity Generating Board was the cornerstone of the British electricity industry for almost 40 years; from 1957, to privatisation in the 1990s....

 and operated on commercial fuel cycles.

Derating to reduce corrosion


In early operation it was found that there was significant oxidation of mild steel components by the high temperature carbon dioxide coolant, requiring a reduction in operating temperature
Operating temperature
An operating temperature is the temperature at which an electrical or mechanical device operates. The device will operate effectively within a specified temperature range which varies based on the device function and application context, and ranges from the minimum operating temperature to the...

 and power output. For example the Latina reactor
Latina Nuclear Power Plant
Latina Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant at Latina, Lazio, Italy. Consisting of one 153 MWe Magnox reactor, it operated from 1963 until 1987....

 was derated in 1969 by 24%, from 210 MWe to 160 MWe, by the reduction of operating temperature from 390 to 360 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

.

Extended operation


As of 2011, two Magnox power stations remain in operation; Oldbury
Oldbury nuclear power station
Oldbury nuclear power station is a nuclear power station located on the south bank of the River Severn close to the village of Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. It is operated by Magnox North Limited, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority...

 and Wylfa. Originally Oldbury was to close in 2008, but in an announcement on 18 December 2008 by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom formed by the Energy Act 2004. It came into existence in late 2004, and took on its main functions on 1 April 2005...

 (NDA) it was stated that the station would continue to operate for another two years, in order to raise funds to pay for decommissioning. Wylfa had been due to close in 2010 but its operating licence was also extended. , Wylfa and Oldbury are both due to cease production in 2012.

Magnox alloy



Magnox is also the name of an alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

—mainly of magnesium
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

 with small amounts of aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 and other metals—used in cladding unenriched uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 metal fuel with a non-oxidising covering to contain fission products.
Magnox is short for Magnesium non-oxidising.
This material has the advantage of a low neutron
Neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

 capture cross-section, but has two major disadvantages:
  • It limits the maximum temperature, and hence the thermal efficiency, of the plant.
  • It reacts with water, preventing long-term storage of spent fuel under water.


Magnox fuel incorporated cooling fins to provide maximum heat transfer despite low operating temperatures, making it expensive to produce. While the use of uranium metal rather than oxide made reprocessing more straightforward and therefore cheaper, the need to reprocess fuel a short time after removal from the reactor meant that the fission product hazard was severe. Expensive remote handling facilities were required to address this danger.

Magnox plants


The term magnox may also loosely refer to:
  • Three North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

    n reactors, all based on the declassified blueprints of the Calder Hall Magnox reactors:
    • A small 5 MWe
      MWE
      MWE may refer to:*Manufacturer's Weight Empty*McDermott Will & Emery*Midwest Express, an airline*Merowe Airport - IATA code*Multiword expressionMWe may refer to:*Megawatt electrical...

       experimental reactor at Yongbyon
      Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
      The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is North Korea's major nuclear facility, operating its first nuclear reactors. It is located in the county of Nyŏngbyŏn in North Pyongan province, about 90 km north of Pyongyang...

      , operated from 1986 to 1994, and restarted in 2003. Plutonium from this reactor's spent fuel has been used in the North Korea nuclear weapons program.
    • A 50 MWe reactor, also at Yongbyon, whose construction commenced in 1985 but was never finished in accord with the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework.
    • A 200 MWe reactor at Taechon
      Taechon
      Taechon, also spelled Thaechon, is a kun, or county, in central North Pyongan province, North Korea. It borders Taegwan and Tongchang to the north, Unsan and Nyongbyon to the east, Pakchon and Unjon to the south, and Kusong to the west....

      , construction of which also halted in 1994.
  • Nine UNGG power reactors built in France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    , all now shut down. These were carbon dioxide-cooled, graphite reactors with natural uranium metal fuel, very similar in design and purpose to the British Magnox reactors except that the fuel cladding was magnesium
    Magnesium
    Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

    -zirconium
    Zirconium
    Zirconium is a chemical element with the symbol Zr and atomic number 40. The name of zirconium is taken from the mineral zircon. Its atomic mass is 91.224. It is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that resembles titanium...

     alloy.

Gas cooled reactors


The accepted term for all of these first-generation, carbon dioxide-cooled, graphite-moderated reactors, including the Magnox and UNGG, is GCR for Gas Cooled Reactor
Gas Cooled Reactor
A gas-cooled reactor is a nuclear reactor that uses graphite as a neutron moderator and carbon dioxide as coolant...

.

The Magnox was replaced in the British power station program by the Advanced gas-cooled reactor
Advanced gas-cooled reactor
An advanced gas-cooled reactor is a type of nuclear reactor. These are the second generation of British gas-cooled reactors, using graphite as the neutron moderator and carbon dioxide as coolant...

 or AGR, which was derived from it. A key feature of the AGR was the replacement of magnox cladding to allow higher temperatures and greater thermal efficiency. Stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

 cladding was adopted after many other alloys had been tried and rejected.

Decommissioning



The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom formed by the Energy Act 2004. It came into existence in late 2004, and took on its main functions on 1 April 2005...

 (NDA) is responsible for the decommissioning of the UK Magnox power plants, at an estimated cost of £12.6 billion. There is currently debate about whether a 25 or 100 year decommissioning strategy should be adopted. After 80 years short-lifetime radioactive material in the defueled core would have decayed to the point that human access to the reactor structure would be possible, easing dismantling work. A shorter decommissioning strategy would require a fully robotic core dismantling technique.

In addition the Sellafield
Sellafield
Sellafield is a nuclear reprocessing site, close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea in Cumbria, England. The site is served by Sellafield railway station. Sellafield is an off-shoot from the original nuclear reactor site at Windscale which is currently undergoing...

 site which, amongst other activities, reprocessed
Nuclear reprocessing
Nuclear reprocessing technology was developed to chemically separate and recover fissionable plutonium from irradiated nuclear fuel. Reprocessing serves multiple purposes, whose relative importance has changed over time. Originally reprocessing was used solely to extract plutonium for producing...

 spent Magnox fuel in its B205
B205
B205 is the name of the Magnox nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield in northern England. This plant uses PUREX chemistry to extract plutonium and uranium from used nuclear fuel....

 plant, has an estimated decommissioning cost of £31.5 billion. Magnox fuel was produced at Springfields near Preston; estimated decommissioning cost is £371 million. The total cost of decommissioning Magnox activities is likely to exceed £20 billion, averaging about £2 billion per productive reactor site.

Calder Hall was opened in 1956 as the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, and is a significant part of the UK’s industrial heritage. The NDA is considering whether to preserve Calder Hall Reactor 1 as a museum site.

All the UK's Magnox Reactor Sites (apart from Calder Hall) are operated by Magnox Ltd
Magnox Ltd
Magnox Ltd is a nuclear decommissioning Site Licence Company controlled by Reactor Sites Management Company, its designated Parent Body Organisation...

, a Site Licence Company (SLC) of the NDA. Reactor Sites Management Company (RSMC) holds the contract to manage Magnox Ltd on behalf of the NDA. In 2007, RSMC was acquired by American nuclear fuel cycle service provider EnergySolutions from British Nuclear Fuels
BNFL
British Nuclear Fuels Limited was a nuclear energy and fuels company owned by the UK Government. It was a former manufacturer and transporter of nuclear fuel , ran reactors, generated and sold electricity, reprocessed and managed spent fuel , and decommissioned nuclear plants and other similar...

.

On 1 October 2008, Magnox Electric Ltd separated into two nuclear licensed companies, Magnox North Ltd and Magnox South Ltd.

Magnox North sites Magnox South sites
* Chapelcross * Berkeley
* Hunterston A * Bradwell
* Oldbury * Dungeness
* Trawsfynydd * Hinkley Point A
* Wylfa * Sizewell A

In January 2011 Magnox North Ltd and Magnox South Ltd recombined as Magnox Ltd.

List of Magnox reactors in the UK

  • Calder Hall near Whitehaven
    Whitehaven
    Whitehaven is a small town and port on the coast of Cumbria, England, which lies equidistant between the county's two largest settlements, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, and is served by the Cumbrian Coast Line and the A595 road...

    , Cumbria
    Cumbria
    Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

     - 4 units 50 MWe each, first grid connection 1956, shut down 2003
  • Chapelcross
    Chapelcross nuclear power station
    Chapelcross was a Magnox nuclear power plant located near the town of Annan in Dumfries and Galloway in south west Scotland. It was the sister plant to Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, both commissioned and originally operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.The primary purpose of...

     near Annan
    Annan, Dumfries and Galloway
    The royal burgh of Annan is a well-built town, red sandstone being the material mainly used. Each year in July, Annan celebrates the Royal Charter and the boundaries of the Royal Burgh are confirmed when a mounted cavalcade undertakes the Riding of the Marches. Entertainment includes a...

    , Dumfriesshire
    Dumfriesshire
    Dumfriesshire or the County of Dumfries is a registration county of Scotland. The lieutenancy area of Dumfries has similar boundaries.Until 1975 it was a county. Its county town was Dumfries...

    , 4 units 50 MWe each, first grid connection 1959, shut down 2003
  • Berkeley
    Berkeley nuclear power station
    Berkeley nuclear power station is a disused Magnox power station situated on the bank of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, England.-History:The construction of the power station, which was undertaken by a consortium of AEI and John Thompson began in 1956....

     in Gloucestershire
    Gloucestershire
    Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

    , 2 units 138 MWe each, first grid connection 1962, shut down 1989.
  • Bradwell near Southminster
    Southminster
    Southminster is a town on the Dengie peninsula in the Maldon district of Essex in the East of England. It lies about three miles north of Burnham-on-Crouch and ten miles south-east of Maldon. To the north is the River Blackwater, which is tidal and since Roman times has been the gateway to trading...

    , Essex
    Essex
    Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

    , 2 units 121 MWe each, first grid connection 1962, shut down 2002
  • Hunterston "A"
    Hunterston A nuclear power station
    Hunterston A nuclear power station was a Magnox power station located at Hunterston in Ayrshire, Scotland, adjacent to Hunterston B and is currently being decommissioned.-History:...

     between West Kilbride
    West Kilbride
    West Kilbride is a village in North Ayrshire, on the west coast of Scotland by the Firth of Clyde, looking across the water to Goat Fell and the Isle of Arran...

     and Fairlie, North Ayrshire
    North Ayrshire
    North Ayrshire is one of 32 council areas in Scotland with a population of roughly 136,000 people. It is located in the south-west region of Scotland, and borders the areas of Inverclyde to the north, Renfrewshire to the north-east and East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire to the East and South...

     2 reactors initially rated at 180 MWe each, later downrated to 150 MWe each, feeding 6 turbo-alternators capable of up to 60MWe each. First grid connection 1964, Reactor 2 shut down 31 December 1989; Reactor 1 shut down 31 March 1990
  • Hinkley Point "A"
    Hinkley Point A nuclear power station
    Hinkley Point A nuclear power station was a Magnox power station located on a site in Somerset on the Bristol Channel coast, west of the River Parrett estuary.-History:...

     near Bridgwater
    Bridgwater
    Bridgwater is a market town and civil parish in Somerset, England. It is the administrative centre of the Sedgemoor district, and a major industrial centre. Bridgwater is located on the major communication routes through South West England...

    , Somerset
    Somerset
    The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

    , 2 units 235 MWe each, first grid connection 1965, shut down 1999
  • Trawsfynydd
    Trawsfynydd nuclear power station
    Trawsfyndd nuclear power station is a disused Magnox power station situated at Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, Wales.-History:Construction of the power station, which was undertaken by a consortium involving Crompton Parkinson, International Combustion, Fairey Engineering and Richardsons Westgarth, and...

     in Gwynedd
    Gwynedd
    Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

    , 2 units 195 MWe each, first grid connection 1965, shut down 1991
  • Dungeness "A" in Kent
    Kent
    Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

    , 2 units 219 MWe each, first grid connection 1966, shut down 2006
  • Sizewell "A" near Leiston
    Leiston
    Leiston is a town in eastern Suffolk, England. It is situated near Saxmundham and Aldeburgh, about from the North Sea coast and is northeast of Ipswich and northeast from London...

    , Suffolk
    Suffolk
    Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

    , 2 units 210 MWe each, first grid connection 1966, shut down December 2006
  • Oldbury
    Oldbury nuclear power station
    Oldbury nuclear power station is a nuclear power station located on the south bank of the River Severn close to the village of Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. It is operated by Magnox North Limited, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority...

     near Thornbury, South Gloucestershire
    Thornbury, South Gloucestershire
    Thornbury is a market town in South Gloucestershire, England, approximately 12 miles north of the city of Bristol, with a population of 12,342 at the 2001 UK census. The town hosts South Gloucestershire Council headquarters and is twinned with Bockenem in Germany. Thornbury is a Britain in Bloom...

    , 2 units 217 MWe each, first grid connection 1968, planned to be shut down in June 2011.
  • Wylfa
    Wylfa
    The Wylfa Nuclear Power Station is situated just west of Cemaes Bay on the island of Anglesey, North Wales. Its location on the coast provides an excellent cooling source for its operation...

     on Anglesey
    Anglesey
    Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

    , 2 units 490 MWe each, first grid connection 1971, planned shut down in 2012

Magnox reactors exported from the UK

  • Latina
    Latina Nuclear Power Plant
    Latina Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant at Latina, Lazio, Italy. Consisting of one 153 MWe Magnox reactor, it operated from 1963 until 1987....

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    , 1 unit 160 MWe, first grid connection 1963, shut down 1987 following Italian referendum on nuclear power
    Italian nuclear power referendum, 1987
    Five nationwide popular referendums were held in Italy on 8 November 1987, with three questions about nuclear energy after the Chernobyl disaster, and two questions about justice. Voting day had been postponed of six months, according to the Italian Constitution, because of the snap election of...

  • Tokai Mura
    Tokai Nuclear Power Plant
    The was Japan's first nuclear power plant. It was built in the early 1960s to the British Magnox design, and generated power from 1966 until it was decommissioned in 1998. A second nuclear plant, built at the site in the 1970s, was the first in Japan to produce over 1000 MW of electricity, and...

    , Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , 1 unit 166 MWe, first grid connection 1966, shut down 1998

See also


  • Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
    Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
    Nuclear power currently generates around a sixth of the United Kingdom's electricity. As of 2011, the United Kingdom operates 19 nuclear reactors at nine locations...

  • UNGG
    UNGG reactor
    The UNGG is an obsolete design of nuclear power reactor developed by France. It was graphite moderated, cooled by carbon dioxide, and fueled with natural uranium metal....

    , the similar class of reactors built in France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • List of nuclear reactors
  • Edge of Darkness
    Edge of Darkness
    Edge of Darkness is a British television drama serial, produced by BBC Television in association with Lionheart Television International and originally broadcast in six fifty-five minute episodes in late 1985...

    , 1985 British television drama about the nuclear industry, which went by the working title "Magnox".
  • Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
    Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center
    The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is North Korea's major nuclear facility, operating its first nuclear reactors. It is located in the county of Nyŏngbyŏn in North Pyongan province, about 90 km north of Pyongyang...

    , location of the North Korean Magnox-type reactor.

External links