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Dounreay - UKAEA History - The First Fifty Years By Andy Munn

The First Fifty Years Intro

Dounreay Index

 Dounreay Web Site

Nuclear Industry Links


Major Changes

Reactor Development

Parting Of The Ways

A New Mission

UKAEA At Dounreay

Early Pictures Gallery

Dounreay Picture Gallery
Dounreay Site After Restoration
Dounreay From The Air

Aspects Of The Dounreay Site
The Old Runway
Fuel Cycle Area
AWA/RWE Descaling
Police Dogs
Training Facility
Materials Test Reactor

DCP and Store Extension
Waste Receipt Assay Characterisation & Supercompaction
Medical Isotopes
Environmental Monitoring Labs
Main Work Shops
RWE Nukem Headquarters
DFR - Dounreay Fast Reactor
Waste Shaft
Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant
PFR - Prototype Fast Reactor
Dounreay Foreshore
Dounreay Castle
Wet Silo
Whatings Hangar
Fire Brigade
Occupational Health

The First Apprentice

Fire & Ambulance Services

Early History On The Site
Dounreay Castle History

Dounreay Visitor Centre

Beach & Offshore Particles
Consultation On The Particles

Andy Munn

Reactor Development
The following decade was a period of stability and relative prosperity for UKAEA.
For much of the 1970s and into the 1980s, it was kept busy working on various reactor designs.

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.

Assembling The PFR Turbine

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

See Also
1966: New nuclear reactor for Dounreay1966 - BBC
Fusion Research At Culham

Joint European Torus (JET)
Reactor Types - Fact Files
Nuclear Reactors - DTI
Will Britain Go Nuclear 21 March 2002