UK wants to draw down Pu stocks

7 February 2011

The UK government has published a consultation about its plans to deal with 84 tonnes of civil-separated plutonium, currently stored at Sellafield and Dounreay, generated mostly from fuel reprocessing.

Its preferred solution is to incorporate the material into MOX fuel, rather than to continue to store it, or encapsulate it into storage containers for a final waste repository.

The government says that although the material—mostly owned by the government, with a smaller amount owned by utility EDF—is perfectly safe as stored, non-proliferation and security concerns are prompting the review.

It did say, though, that the transformation of Pu into fuel would not be a money-making exercise: although MOX fuel has a monetary value, fuel fabrication is 'significantly' more expensive than the end fuel.

Also, the government admitted that incorporating the plutonium into MOX would require construction of a new MOX fabrication facility.

The consultation is open until 11 May 2011.

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