UK nuclear authority takes ownership of German plutonium

A new deal by the UK’s nuclear authority is expected to enhance international nuclear security and boost the country’s economy. DECC announced the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has taken ownership […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A new deal by the UK’s nuclear authority is expected to enhance international nuclear security and boost the country’s economy.

DECC announced the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has taken ownership of some German plutonium, which is a chemical element used in most nuclear plants to produce energy.

The new deal means the NDA will convert four tonnes of plutonium from German nuclear plants stored in the UK into fuel which will be used to power reactors. The news comes after Germany decided to reduce nuclear as a source of power generation following last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The deal will also make German companies plutonium available in France, which means the UK won’t have to transport it across borders. It is expected to enhance nuclear security across Europe by reducing separated plutonium stocks held in storage.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: “The agreement reached reduces the need to transport plutonium and the overall amount of plutonium in Europe and therefore improves our security.

“The management of plutonium brings many challenges, but also opportunities to work with our European partners. This deal provides a new commercial opportunity for the UK that will bring significant financial benefits.”