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Dishonesty: British authorities knew it was wrong to proceed with the thermal oxide reprocessing plant (Thorp) at Sellafield.

Letter William Walker: In 1993, a government official told me that “it
was sometimes right to do the wrong thing”. For reasons of political
expediency, it was right to give political consent for the operation of the
thermal oxide reprocessing plant (Thorp) at Sellafield.

This huge facility, not mentioned in Samanth Subramanian’s fine long read, had been built over
the previous decade to reprocess British and foreign, especially Japanese,
spent nuclear fuels. Abandoning it would be too embarrassing for the many
politicians and their parties that had backed it, expensive in terms of
compensation for broken contracts, and damaging to Britain’s and the
nuclear industry’s international reputation.

It was wrong to proceed, as
the government well knew, because the primary justification for its
construction – supply of plutonium for fast breeder reactors (FBRs) – had
been swept away by the abandonment of FBRs in the 1980s (none were built

Because returning Thorp’s separated plutonium and radwaste to
Japan would be difficult and risky.

Because decommissioning Thorp would
become much more costly after its radioactive contamination.

Because there was a known win-win solution, favoured by most utilities – store the spent
fuel safely at Sellafield prior to its return to senders, avoiding the many
troubles that lay ahead.

Guardian 22nd Dec 2022


December 23, 2022 - Posted by | history, politics, reprocessing, secrets,lies and civil liberties

1 Comment »

  1. This is yet another example of why nuclear energy is too expensive, too dangerous and totally unnecessary for our energy needs. We have no solution for the long term storage or treatment of nuclear wastes, we have no plan for dealing with aging and retiring nuclear plants, they cost too much money to build, safely and too long to build, with less long term employment other than guarding the sites. We have seen the accidents of Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and we have seen how President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” has turned into “Atoms for War,” with India and Pakistan. If you go to the Websites of The Solutions Project and the Rocky Mountain Institute, you will see that we don’t need nuclear power or fossil fuel to meet our energy needs. We have the technology and the natural resources to meet our needs right now. All we lack is the political will to do so. Because the fossil and nuclear industries have bought off the elected leaders from both parties, in Washington and in our state legislatures, through their PAC and election campaign donations. We will not “starve and freeze in the dark,” nor “wreck our economy in the process” of transitioning to a renewable energy economy.

    Comment by paulrodenlearning | December 24, 2022 | Reply

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