The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has built and operated a wide range of nuclear facilities since the late 1940s. UKAEA’s present mission is to restore the environment of these facilities in a safe and secure manner. This restoration includes the decommissioning of a number of redundant research and power reactors. The Windscale Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (WAGR) operated at an output of 33 MW (e) from 1963–1981 and comprised a carbon dioxide cooled, graphite moderated reactor using uranium dioxide fuel in stainless steel cans. WAGR was the prototype reactor used to develop technologies for the family of full-scale commercial AGRs that followed. Following shutdown, UKAEA decided to continue their research activities into the decommissioning phase to develop dismantling techniques and establish waste routes. The initial phases of the project involved the construction of the waste handling route and the design and construction of a remote dismantling machine and an interim ILW store. The reactor core and pressure vessel is now being dismantled in a programme of 10 campaigns. This paper will summarise the history of the reactor, the operation of the waste-processing route, the installed dismantling equipment and the successful completion of the first seven campaigns. The rapid completion of Campaign 6, “the reactor core and restraint structures”, will be described in detail. The paper will also describe work to develop remotely operated oxy-propane cutting equipment to dismantle the core support structures and the pressure vessel and due to be used in 2003/2004. Special attention will be given in this paper to the recent rapid progress in the remote dismantling campaigns and the low radiation doses incurred by operators.

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