Constructed during the late 1940s and early 1950s, the First Generation Reprocessing Plants carried out the first stage of reprocessing for fuel from the Windscale Pile Reactors and later for oxide fuel before it closed in the 1970s.
The First Generation Reprocessing Plants were constructed in the early 1950s to carry out the first stage of reprocessing fuel from the Windscale Pile Reactors. It was later modified for oxide fuels following the opening of the Magnox Reprocessing Plant, before ceasing operations in the 1970s.
The plant was used to reprocess early reactor fuel before being converted to a head-end treatment plant where fuel was sheared.
The plant contains four highly active cells, each containing redundant radioactive material and two medium active cells. The Highly Active North Outer cell was also used as a shielded ventilation route from 1966 to 1988.
The building also has a 61m stack which is housed on the building roof. The primary decommissioning challenge associated with the First Generation Reprocessing Plants is the safe removal of this stack.
The location of the stack on the roof of the building presents a unique demolition challenge.
Physical demolition of the plant can not be completed until a new ventilation plant – the Separation Area Ventilation Plant – is constructed and commissioned.
The First Generation Reprocessing Plants programme of work also includes the decommissioning of the Thorp Miniature Pilot Plant