The mixed-oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield in North England is set to close at a cost of 600 jobs. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, who runs the plant, has said the plant no longer has custom following the tsunami in Japan, earlier this year.
Sellafield have said they are disappointed that the NDA decided to close the plant, but that they recognise the events in Japan left the NDA with no other option.
In a statement the company said: “In line with the NDA’s decision, we have started to develop and implement plans to stop operations within SMP. Our focus is the immediate and future wellbeing of the 600-plus employees who have worked exceptionally hard to achieve significant improvements in the operation and production of the plant since the take-over of the site by NMP almost three years ago.”
The mox plant recycles plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel, which was shipped to Japan. The NDA say they will continue to store the plutonium safely.
The NDA said the operation at Sellafield was no longer commercially viable: “The NDA Board has now assessed the changed commercial risk profile for SMP arising from potential delays following the earthquake in Japan and subsequent events and has concluded that in order to ensure that the UK taxpayer does not carry a future financial burden from SMP that the only reasonable course of action is to close SMP at the earliest practical opportunity.”