This Telegraph article , and similar in other media suggests that plutonium is classified as a waste. It is’nt, It SHOULD be, but it isn’t.
This is what the NDA say about nuclear waste: “If it is assumed that the baseline inventory, as set out in the Managing Radioactive Waste White Paper (but excluding plutonium and uranium) is to be included in the (GDF) concept then the cost is in the order of £12 billion (at 2008 money values and undiscounted).”
To classify plutonium as waste would undermine the Government’s dangerous and continuing reprocessing at Sellafield. The inventory of Plutonium and Uranium is not included as waste. Is this because the Government and pronuclear luvvies like George Monbiot are lining us up for burning MOX fuel ? MOX fuel is a tiny bit of plutonium stirred (hence the MIXED OXIDE) into uranium. The net result is more plutonium.
Here is the Telegraph article courtesy of No2NuclearNews– the article might as well be throwing its hands in the air and be saying “What shall we do with the plutonium?” The answer is coming back thick and fast from nuclear luvvies that the ethical thing would be to burn it in reactors. NO! The ethical thing would be to STOP Making Nuclear Fuel in Preston, STOP Burning Nuclear Fuel in Reactors (this makes Plutonium), STOP Reprocessing Used Nuclear Fuel in Sellafield (this extracts Plutonium from the used fuel). THEN we need to worry about the ONGOING ££££billions required for research, development and action in containing the already obscene amount of existing wastes we have, to repackage them again and again and again and again into eternity!
“Highly dangerous plutonium canisters are “decaying faster than anticipated” at the Sellafield nuclear plant and present an “intolerable risk” if they started to leak, the spending watchdog has warned. Government scientists have now agreed to spend an extra £1billion to make them safe by wrapping them in packaging, the National Audit Office said today. Britain has the largest amount of civil plutonium – a bi-product of nuclear fuel reprocessing – in the world, around 40 per cent of the global total. Most of the plutonium is stored at Sellafield in Cumbria, where it is managed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The problems have occurred because some of the plutonium canisters are judged to be “unsuitable” for storage in a new facility which only opened in 2012, the NAO said. Staff are now racing against the clock to build a new £1.5billion facility – and are having to make contingency plans for the next two years while the new depot is constructed. The NAO report – titled ‘Progress with reducing risk at Sellafield’ – said: “Some canisters that have already been transferred into modern storage will have to be repackaged through the SRP [the residue store retreatment plant] facility to ensure they do not degrade.” The report adds: “A leak from any package would lead to an ‘intolerable’ risk as defined by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. “The NDA has therefore decided to place the canisters more at risk in extra layers of packaging until SRP is operational. It has not yet submitted a new business case to support these contingency arrangements.” Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “In some ways it is fortunate that this failure was detected whilst the plutonium was still accessible, and the cost of patching the canisters is only £1billion. If an inaccessible deep waste dump were to fail in a similar way, who knows what the full cost might be?”
Telegraph 19th June 2018