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Britain Prepares to Close Its Oldest Working Reactor

Britain shut its oldest working atomic reactor after 44 years.

The Oldbury site’s reactor 1, a 215-megawatt unit on the banks of the River Severn in southwestern England, halted at about 11 a.m. London time after generating since 1967, Magnox North Ltd. said by e-mail. Magnox North operates the reactor for the U.K.’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The station closed because it’s not economical to keep it open, Magnox North said in October. Radioactive fuel will be removed from the reactors over the coming months, Phil Sprague, a site director, said in an e-mailed statement.

The Oldbury power station has generated 137.5 terawatt-hours since starting, enough electricity to supply 1 million homes for 20 years, according to the statement.

The unit was granted permission to generate until the end of this year after originally being scheduled to shut in 2008. Magnox closed reactor 2 at the site at the end of June. The company also operates the 980-megawatt Wylfa nuclear plant in Anglesey, Wales, due to shut at the end of this year. The NDA is seeking to extend operations at Wylfa until the end of 2014, according to the statement.

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