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Calder Hall Celebrates 40 Years of Operation
Press Release Archive

This week Calder Hall, the world's first commercial nuclear power station, celebrates 40 years of operation. The celebration follows the announcement that the operating lives of both Calder Hall and its sister station at Chapelcross, (Dumfries and Galloway) are to be extended into the next century.

Calder Hall, the birthplace of the British nuclear power generation industry, will begin its celebrations on Friday 6 September. A lunchtime reception for 80 invited guests, including a number of Calder Hall veterans, will be held at the power station. During the reception a commemorative plaque marking the 40 years of operation will be unveiled by BNFL Chairman Mr John Guinness. Guests will also have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the power station.

One of the longest serving Calder Hall employees will also be celebrating at the lunchtime reception. Len Jardine, a process worker on Reactor 3 at Calder Hall has worked at the power station since 1956. He started working at Calder Hall when he was 24 and said: "When I started I didn't expect that I would be there for 40 years. The fact that it is still performing well today is a tribute to the excellent planning which went into the construction of the power station". Len, who lives at Frizington is married to Catherine and has one daughter. Recently Len has become a grandad and is looking forward to January when he retires and will be able to enjoy spending more time with the new member of the family.

The 40 year milestone is a reflection of the power station's sound design, construction and safe operation over the years. The station has consistently achieved an annual output average of 90 per cent. Calder Hall, which was officially opened by the Queen on 17 October 1956, has good cause to celebrate with a world class performance that has seen the generation of over 52,460 GWh of energy in the form of electricity andprocess steam. This would be sufficient energy to supply the needs of householders in Cumbria for over 62 years.

Peter Gallie, Station Manager at Calder Hall said: "This is a remarkable achievement. Calder Hall which was the world's first commercial nuclear power station, is now set to enter the next millennium still operating at high performance levels." Notes to Editors The plant was 'conceived' in the early 1950s and work began on 7 April 1953. More than 1,500 people were employed during construction. Originally planned as one reactor, the project developed into two phases: Calder A and Calder B, each comprising two Magnox reactors. Calder Hall and its sister station Chapelcross, were the prototypes of the further nine Magnox nuclear power stations built across Britain over the next ten years.

Similar stations were also built at Latina in Italy and Tokai Mura in Japan. By the time Calder Hall was officially opened by the Queen in October 1956, reactor 1 was operating at full load and exporting electricity to the National Grid. It is a tribute to their initial design and engineering that they are still fully operational and in July were licensed to operate for a further ten years.

Innovation has been at the heart of Calder Hall's success, both in the original concept and design, and in improvement projects which have ensured its continuing operation. By exploiting new technology and developing working practices, Calder Hall now generates four times the amount of electricity that it did in 1956 - enough to supply a city the size of Leeds.

As well as contributing to BNFL's profitability by selling power into the National Grid, Calder Hall also supplies electricity and process steam to the various plants operating Sellafield. The station is a key local employer, providing work for approximately 380 staff. The station takes care to foster good community relations.

Visitors are made welcome, with school parties accounting for a large percentage of guests.


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