The UK will return a small amount of high-level radioactive waste to BNFL’s overseas reprocessing customers while keeping and disposing of a larger amount of low- and intermediate-level wastes.
Although the volumes of waste in the UK will be greater, the amount of radioactivity in the UK will remain the same and the number of waste shipments will be dramatically reduced. The total distance that movements of intermediate-level waste will undergo will be reduced by some 715,000km.
Secretary of state for trade and industry, Patricia Hewitt said: "The benefits are both environmental and economic." The £680 million saved by the change in practice will be added to clean-up funds and the ‘saved’ carbon emmissions of shipments have been cited as an environmental benefit.
Opposing politicians and environmental groups have been quick to claim that Britain will become a ‘nuclear dumping ground’.
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