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Dounreay - UKAEA History - The First Fifty Years By Andy Munn
UKAEA At Dounreay
Aspects Of The
Early History On The Site
UKAEA – THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS
By far the biggest single programme, accounting for 30% of total expenditure and 600 scientists and engineers, was that of fast reactors. The Prototype Fast Reactor, with a capacity of 270 MW - far larger than its predecessor the DFR – was built at Dounreay and reached full power in 1977. A reprocessing plant for PFR was also built and started operations in 1979.
Meanwhile, fusion research was developing apace. In 1977 the decision was taken by the European Council of Ministers to site the Joint European Torus (JET) project at Culham. The first stone was laid in 1979 and opened by The Queen in 1984 – a proud moment for the UKAEA fusion team.
However, during the 1970s there was considerable debate about the choice of reactor design for commercial generation. An early decision to opt for the SGHWR design was later abandoned in 1978 in favour of the construction of two further AGR stations and the Pressurised Water Reactor design. Nevertheless, the SGHWR at Winfrith continued to reliably generate electricity for the national grid for a further 12 years until its closure in 1990.
Next Parting Of The Ways