What’s the future of UK plutonium?

The future of the UK’s civil plutonium stocks was being debated today in Westminster. The consultation seeks to find suitable long-term solutions for disposal or storage. Currently plutonium is housed […]

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By Tom Gibson

The future of the UK’s civil plutonium stocks was being debated today in Westminster.

The consultation seeks to find suitable long-term solutions for disposal or storage. Currently plutonium is housed in secure facilities at Sellafield and Dounreary.

The paper has set out three options:

-Reuse as fuel.

Immobilisation and direct disposal as waste.

-Continued long term storage.

The Government has preliminarily stated that the best solution reusing the plutonium as MOX (a mixed oxide) fuel option.

Lord Marland, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said: “There are currently no final plans for how the UK’s plutonium should be managed in the long-term. It is high time that we got to grips with this and developed a coherent and comprehensive plan for dealing with the issue. We are keen to assess all the options for affordability, deliverability, value for money, safety and security.”

DECC say that MOX fuel fabrication is a proven technology that offers greater certainty of success, whilst allowing use of the inherent energy resource of the plutonium.