GE approach Sellafield over plutonium recycling

GE Hitachi has reportedly approached Sellafield about building a new reactor in which to convert waste plutonium into electricity. Currently the Government spends around £2 billion a year managing the […]

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By Tom Gibson

GE Hitachi has reportedly approached Sellafield about building a new reactor in which to convert waste plutonium into electricity. Currently the Government spends around £2 billion a year managing the nuclear waste.

GE Hitachi’s Danny Roderick is reported to have said the proposed 600MW plant could recycle the existing stockpile in five years: “We could take that 100 tonnes of plutonium oxide and put it through our prism reactor to make power.”

Earlier this year the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) plant at Sellafield closed after the Fukushima accident in Japan caused a decrease in demand for the spent fuel. DECC are yet to make their mind up over the future of UK nuclear, but released a statement today which re-affirmed UK nuclear management.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry stated: “While the UK Government believes it has sufficient information to set out a direction, it is not yet sufficient to make a specific decision to proceed with procuring a new MOX plant. Only when the Government is confident that its preferred option could be implemented safely and securely, that is affordable, deliverable, and offers value for money, will it be in a position to proceed with a new MOX plant.”

The Government will work with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to figure out whether there is a suitable path for commercial MOX.