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United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is responsible for the UK nuclear energy and weapons R&D programme, including the Prototype Fast Reactor; radioactive waste disposal; nuclear fuel reprocessing; fusion research; and the development of its sites as science and technology centres. UKAEA is responsible caring for and, at the appropriate time, safely dismantling active facilities no longer in use; disposing of radioactive waste in an environmentally acceptable way; ensuring the security of nuclear facilities and materials; and carrying out fusion research.

In the second quarter of 1997, for the first time ever, nuclear power replaced coal as the largest source of electricity production in the UK. Nuclear power generated 36% of total electricity, coal 33% and gas-fired power plants 29%.

In September 1997 the UKAEA awarded its largest decommissioning contract to date. A consortium led by British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) won the contract to dismantle and remove for treatment and storage the core of Pile One at Windscale. The eight-year contract is valued at 54 million. The Pile, a stack of some 2,000 tonnes of graphite blocks, has been in a state of safe care and maintenance since the October 1957 fire. Its core contains an estimated 15 tonnes of damaged fuel.

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