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Closure of UK’s Sellafield Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant – a commercial failure

15th Nov 2018 On the morning after the Financial Times has called on the UK Government to reassess its long-term energy plans following the demise of Toshiba’sMoorside nuclear project, the Stop Hinkley Campaign has published a  briefing about lessons we can learn from the Sellafield Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant which is in the process of closing after only 24 years of operation and a very chequered performance.

The “Lessons for Hinkley from Sellafield” briefing says: The cost of building THORP increased from
£300m in 1977 to £1.8bn on completion in 1992. With the additional cost of associated facilities this figure rose to £2.8bn. Originally expected to reprocess 7,000 tonnes of spent fuel in its first ten years, it has managed only around 9,300 in 24 years.

The original rationale for THORP ended with the closure of the UK’s fast reactor programme in 1994. The new rationale – to produce plutonium fuel for ordinary reactors – was a disaster costing the taxpayer £2.2bn.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “The rationale for building the THORP plant at Sellafield had disappeared before it even opened. The lesson for 2018 is that we should scrap Hinkley C now before costs escalate. The cancellation costs are small relative to the £50billion extra we’ll have to pay for Hinkley’s electricity, if it ever generates any. If we wait any longer to scrap it,
we risk heading for another Sellafield-scale financial disaster.”


November 19, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, reprocessing, UK

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