The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said, 3 August that the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) should close at the ‘earliest practical opportunity.’ The closure is a direct consequence of the Fukushima incident, as the facility gets its business from Japanese utilities.
The NDA said "In order to ensure that the UK taxpayer does not carry a future financial burden from SMP…the only reasonable course of action is to close SMP at the earliest practical opportunity.”
The conclusion comes after a review of the impacts of Fukushima on commercial arrangements for SMP, which NDA worked on with the plant’s Japanese customers.
Sellafield Ltd has already started to develop and implement plans to stop operations within SMP, where approximately 600 people work.
The NDA says it will continue to store Japanese plutonium safely and securely and that it would seek discussions with the Japanese utilities to develop a responsible approach to their policy for reuse of the material.
Nuclear union Prospect has described the decision to close SMP as ‘ill-conceived and short-sighted’.