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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
First reactor could become museum
Calder Hall
Calder Hall in Cumbria was opened by the Queen in 1956
One of the oldest nuclear reactors, at Calder Hall in Cumbria, could be turned into a national heritage site.

The reactor, opened by the Queen in 1956, ceased operating in 2003 after almost 50 years in service.

The site is earmarked to be dismantled by the recently-created Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), along with other civil nuclear facilities.

But the NDA says it is considering preserving the reactor as part of a future visitor attraction.

When it began producing electricity, Calder Hall, located on the existing Sellafield site, used then cutting edge magnox technology.

But by the end of the century, its 196 megawatt capacity was considered too small to sustain its long-term viability.

It eventually closed in March 2003 with the then operator British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) blaming the move on the depressed electricity prices and high running costs.

Industrial heritage

A spokesman for the NDA said: "The reactor and its associated turbine hall are currently in a preserved state awaiting the removal of the nuclear fuel.

"It should be considered a significant part of the UK's industrial heritage.

"The design and condition of the reactor and turbine hall are such that it would be possible to convert them into a museum for future generations to visit.

"We believe that such a museum, together with the Sellafield visitor centre and possibly a national nuclear archive, could form a valuable asset to the future of west Cumbria."

He said the NDA was now commissioning a study of the costs and feasibility of preserving Calder Hall's number one reactor.


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