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UK govt not happy with GE Hitachi’s plan for plutonium waste

the UK stockpile of waste plutonium – the biggest civilian stash in the world 

UK Nuclear Watchdog Toughens Stance On Waste Reuse, Planet Ark 25-Jan-12,  BRITAIN by Oleg Vukmanovic Britain’s nuclear watchdog has hardened its stance against a proposal by U.S.-Japan joint venture GE Hitachi to dispose of UK radioactive waste in a plutonium-burning reactor but has not ended talks.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which advises the government on how best to manage the UK’s growing plutonium stockpile, is considering a number of options including the fast-reactor design proposed by GE Hitachi in November.

The NDA has repeatedly ruled the multi-billion pound 600 megawatt (MW) reactor out of the running on the grounds that the technology lacks credibility for the purposes of plutonium disposal.

An email from Adrian Simper, the NDA’s strategy and technology
director, to GE Hitachi on November 29, which was obtained by Reuters,
cited as a reason that “the market did not expect to deploy them (the
plutonium reactor design) commercially for several decades (until
2050).”

In that email, Simper also told an unidentified official at GE Hitachi
that the NDA wanted to use “market-provided reactors” because the
government “was not prepared to take technology risk on a new
reactor.”

The email also referred to a joint meeting in which NDA set out “a
hurdle for credibility” that GE Hitachi had thus far failed to meet.

Hurdles included the safe management of recycling byproducts as well
as finding a British utility willing to own and operate the reactor.

The NDA also demanded financial certainty that costs would be
contained to about 2.5 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) and that the
government would be insulated from technology deployment risks.

The correspondence concluded with an admission that the two parties
have “struggled to reach a clear agreement on the work necessary to
demonstrate credibility,” on which further progress depends.

Talks between GE Hitachi and NDA are expected to continue for several
more months, an NDA spokesman said.

The front-runner proposal for converting the UK stockpile of waste
plutonium – the biggest civilian stash in the world – involves making
it into a mixed-oxide fuel for reuse in a new generation of thermal
light water reactors.

The government said in December it preferred this option.
http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/64507

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January 26, 2012 - Posted by | - plutonium, UK

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