Britain about to risk yet another nuclear reprocessing fiasco?
Pete Wilkinson, an independent environmental consultant, said it “beggared belief” that ministers were going down this path after losing an estimated £600m from operating an original MOX plant.
“It would be interesting to see the commercial arrangements which justify turning Britain into a nuclear waste dump for plutonium that no-one else wants.”
UK nuclear authority takes ownership of German plutonium UK risks becoming a ‘nuclear laundry’ looking after unwanted waste from other countries, warns industry expert Terry Macalister guardian.co.uk, 13 July 2012 Britain risks being turned into a “nuclear laundry” by taking ownership of German plutonium in return for cash, the government was warned on Friday.
The move came along with confirmation that ministers were moving towards a controversial decision to build a new mixed oxide fuel (MOX) plant despite having just agreed to close an existing one which lost millions of pounds.
Britain has the largest stockpile of plutonium in the world but has taken permanent control of a further 4 tonnes under a deal with German nuclear power companies..
… Ministers believe the plutonium should be converted to MOX fuel for use in civil nuclear reactors although the statement elaborated: “While the UK government believes that it has sufficient information to set out this policy direction, it is not yet sufficient to make a specific decision whether to proceed with procuring a new MOX plant.”
The latest moves – coming at a time when ministers are being accused of bending the subsidy rules to encourage power companies to build a new generation of nuclear plants – was condemned by Greenpeace and other critics. Pete Wilkinson, an independent environmental consultant, said it “beggared belief” that ministers were going down this path after losing an estimated £600m from operating an original MOX plant. The facility opened in 2001 was originally designed to produce 120 tonnes of reprocessed fuel annually but by 2007 had only produced 5.2 tonnes in six years up to 2007.
“It just seems we are going back to becoming a nuclear laundry looking after everyone else’s unwanted waste. We should be getting rid of this material [plutonium] as quickly and safely as possible in deep burial instead of trying to restart a mega-nuclear future of new plants that will leave a dangerous legacy for generations to come.”
Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace agreed: “It would be interesting to see the commercial arrangements which justify turning Britain into anuclear waste dump for plutonium that no-one else wants.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/13/uk-takes-ownership-of-german-plutonium?newsfeed=true
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