Materials in spent fuel rods and weapons-grade plutonium should be considered for reuse in Britain’s new nuclear reactor programme, says a report.1
Written by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, led by former chief scientist Sir David King, it considers four options for legacy nuclear materials’ management.
The first considers the 100 tonnes of plutonium from reprocessing early Magnox reactor fuel for weapons use, held by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority at Sellafield. It would be converted into low grade mixed oxide (MOX). Some 6,000 tonnes of spent fuel from the UK’s advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) would also be processed for dry storage until 2075. This would be most expensive, treating the material as a waste liability for deep disposal in a geological repository.