British Nuclear Fuels has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to give the go-ahead for uranium commissioning at the company’s MOX plant at Sellafield. However the government has decided on a third round of consultation before giving the plant full clearance to start producing MOX fuel. BNFL is concerned that any further delay risks inflicting damage on the company both in financial terms and through the release of commercially sensitive information. The plant has been ready to start production since April 1998 and the delay has so far cost £20 million.
Following the approval of uranium commissioning, BNFL will introduce uranium into the plant process, and carry out a testing and commissioning programme.
• Outgoing BNFL chairman John Guinness, has said Western companies have a “moral obligation” to help Russia clean up its nuclear legacy. Speaking at a conference on investment in Russia, he also said the legacy offers commercial opportunities.
“Stepping up operations must also encourage joint working – bringing the best of Russian and Western skills together as one – in seeking to win contracts,” he said.
“We will have to consciously bring down barriers which may exist culturally, or in our ways of working, and pledge to work together – openly – to achieve maximum results.”