No new Thorp contracts

3 September 2002

United Kingdom UK environment minister Michael Meacher announced on 23 July that the UK will conduct a review of reprocessing before BNFL enters into any new contracts for its Thorp reprocessing plant at Sellafield. Meacher said the review will "look closely at whether Thorp's continued operation is consistent with our environmental objectives and international obligations." BNFL was not in a position to say whether there were any pending deals that might be affected. Its current contracts will keep it operating until 2016.

Meacher's announcement coincided with publication of the UK's plans to make further cuts in its radioactive discharges to the sea over the next 18 years in order to meet its commitment in the 1998 Ospar agreement limiting discharges into the North Atlantic. Most of the UK's marine discharges come from reprocessing activity at Sellafield. Meacher said that by 2020, total alpha/beta liquid discharges (excluding tritium) from spent fuel reprocessing are expected to be reduced by 70% from 165TBq/ year to around 50TBq/year.

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