Discover More about Chapelcross Annan – Scotland’s first Nuclear Power station
Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station – The History
With increasing tension in the Cold War against the USSR in the 1950s, the race to provide the United Kingdom with a nuclear deterrent began.
Chapelcross, the site of the disused RAF Annan aerodrome, was chosen by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority to become the first nuclear power station in Scotland.
The station was to consist of 4 Nuclear Reactors, each driving 2 steam turbines which initially would produce around 160 Mw of electrical power to the national grid as well as providing Plutonium to the UK’s nuclear weapons programme.
The station was based on the design of Calder Hall in West Cumbria, the first commercial nuclear power station in the UK, although the layout was modified and improved. With construction starting in 1955, within 4 years the station was in production with each reactor being brought on-line as the next was being built.
The station provided both electrical energy and Plutonium throughout the 1960’s, with Plutonium production ceasing around the end of that decade. Electrical generation continued, with upgraded turbines increasing output to around 200 Mw, when at end the 1970’s a Production Plant was added to the site to manufacture Tritium for the nuclear weapons programme.
As well as building the power station, housing estates both in Annan and at Oaklands, next to the station, were also constructed with a school and social club soon to follow to provide accommodation, educational and leisure facilities for the hundreds of workers and their families who came to the area.
Production of both electricity and Tritium continued until 2004 when the station was shut down and decommissioning began.
Decommissioning continues to this day, still providing employment for many contractors and local people.