Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant celebrates 50 years

It's been 50 years since the Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant began operating. The West Cumbrian facility has reprocessed more than 50,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. It will reprocess a further 3,000 tonnes before it closes in six years time. The plant separates spent fuel rods into plutonium and uranium which could be reused in power station in the future.

Former workers recall glory days of Magnox plant

It's 50 years since the start of operations at the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The plant opened in 1964 and to date, it has reprocessed 52 thousand tonnes of radioactive waste from Magnox power stations in the UK.

Thousands of people have worked there, it now employs around 400.

To mark the facility's 50th birthday, 50 former workers were invited along, including one engineer who was there on the very first day it opened.

Our cameras were allowed in for the first time in half a century. Matthew Taylor reports.

Magnox plant has been 'safely run for 50 years'

The plant was built in 1964
The Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant was built in 1964 Credit: Sellafield Ltd

It's 50 years since the Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant began operating.

In that time, the West Cumbrian facility has reprocessed more than 50,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. It will reprocess a further 3,000 tonnes before it closes in six years time.

Staff work to produce uranium and plutonium for making nuclear power
Staff work to produce uranium and plutonium for making nuclear power Credit: Sellafield Ltd

It produces uranium and plutonium which could be reused in making nuclear power in the future.

Opponents of nuclear energy have criticised the amount of discharges from the plant over the years but Sellafield Ltd, which runs the operation, said it has been "safely run for 50 years."

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50 years of Sellafield reprocessing plant

It's 50 years since the Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant began operating.

In that time, the West Cumbrian facility has reprocessed more than 50,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel.

It will reprocess a further 3,000 tonnes before it closes in six years' time.

The plant separates spent fuel rods into plutonium and uranium which could be reused in power station in the future.