James Fisher and Sons has been awarded a £60m contract to decommission the largest of the nuclear reactor cores built on a site at Winfrith in Dorset.

The listed marine services provider's subsidiary James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) has been handed the project by Magnox.

The contract is to design and deliver a facility to segment and package the reactor core of the redundant Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR) over a four-year period.

SGHWR was the largest of nine experimental reactors commissioned on the Winfrith site, which were constructed between 1963 and 1963 to generate up to 100MW of electricity, sufficient to power the needs of a small town.

The reactor was shut down in 1990 and has subsequently been subject to defueling and decommissioning operations.

Nick Henry, chief executive of James Fisher and Sons, said: "We are proud to have been awarded this contract which firmly establishes JFN as the leading reactor decommissioning contractor in the UK.

"Such contracts require great expertise and experience in remote handling techniques, and this award is further testament to the market-leading experience of our team in this area, which enables us to provide cost-effective solutions for the decommissioning programme." 

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