Case Study

All nuclear power stations are designed to have a working life of around 40 years. Given prudent operation and maintenance, the lifespan of modern Pressurised Water Reactors could be extended up to around 60 years.

At the end of their useful lives, nuclear power stations have to be decommissioned and demolished. Their sites must then be cleaned up or decontaminated before being released for general use. Full decommissioning normally takes several decades. The time is taken to allow the radiation level to fall to a level that will allow decommissioning work being taken at a low radiation dose for the workers.

Shippingport Atomic Power Station
Photo: The Shippingport Pressurised Water Reactor, US
Atomic Energy Commission, Addison Wesley Publishing Company

Demolition of the cooling towers at the Chapelcross
Nuclear Power Plant in the UK in 2007
Photo: World Nuclear Association