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04.05.2017 17:36
Euratom Mulls Transferring Responsibility for Imported Nuclear Waste to Britain
Britain has been wrestling for years with the question of what to do with the roughly 126 tonnes of plutonium stored at Sellafield — the world’s largest civilian stockpile

  • © Wikimedia Commons

Euratom might transfer to Britain the control over large volumes of radioactive waste, some of it imported from other European countries such as Germany and Sweden. This was part of a proposal by Brussels to transfer ownership of a range of nuclear materials to the UK after it leaves the EU, the FT reported.
Almost 130 tonnes of plutonium stored at Sellafield in Cumbria is among the nuclear material that would formally shift to UK control, according to draft documents issued by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.

All forms of uranium and plutonium used in nuclear fuels and some of the resulting waste are technically owned by Euratom, the pan-European regulator of civilian nuclear activity.

Britain has been wrestling for years with the question of what to do with the roughly 126 tonnes of plutonium stored at Sellafield — the world’s largest civilian stockpile. About a fifth of it stems from imported nuclear waste. The plutonium is kept in sealed flasks in a heavily guarded building designed to withstand being hit by an aircraft and costs an estimated GBP 80m a year to store and protect, the FT wrote.

The UK spent GBP 1.4 bn in the 1990s on a plant to recycle the plutonium into nuclear fuel but the Sellafield facility was beset by problems and closed in 2011. Various proposals have been floated to spend billions more on alternative approaches to recycling, although some people favour writing off the stockpile as waste.

TAGS: Euratom | Great Britain | nuclear waste | Sellafield | energy | Brexit 

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