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After years of contentious debate Sellafield was finally shut down only to attempt a rise from the ashes in this new proposal to build a second MOX plant. The industry has shown it will not go down without a fight, but the failure to address the safety hazards that led to the demise of Sellafield 1, or the enormous cost to taxpayers, indicate that if the people of Britain are reading the fine print they should fight back harder. Once was bad enough, and Sellafield was already on its second life (formally dba as the ill fated Windscale, site of Britain's worst nuclear accident). A third chance is asking for too much risk, financial and safety wise. This is the industry looking for money, not a project that will benefit Britain in any way.
The Independent l Steve Connor 13 October, 2011
Britain's top scientific organisation has backed a controversial proposal to build a second multibillion-pound nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield in Cumbria to deal with the UK's enormous stockpile of civil plutonium, but it has done so without addressing either the cost or the failures of an existing fuel plant, which had to be closed this year.
A Royal Society report says another mixed oxide (Mox) fuel plant at Sellafield is the only way of dealing with the plutonium stockpile at the site, but it pointedly fails to discuss either the costs of the new plant or the reasons why the existing Sellafield Mox plant has been such a disaster.
Critics say that the society's inquiry into the nuclear fuel cycle has been heavily influenced by the vested interests of the nuclear industry. One of the experts on the report's working group, Dr Christine Brown, was a key figure at Sellafield when British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) was building its Mox plant.
More controversy and hesitation about MOX fuel. Dangerous, expensive, a proliferation risk- MOX fuel manufacture is the biggest contaminator of the atmosphere and oceans. We need to permanently secure the plutonium from decommissioning nuclear weapons. Not send it back out into the world in a new form to do more damage.
"If the Japanese premier gets his way, however, Hamaoka will be shut long before Sellafield is ready to fulfil its only definite order for Mox fuel. This would torpedo the entire rationale for building and opening the £498m Sellafield Mox Plant, which was to fabricate hundreds of tonnes of Mox fuel for Japanese reactors."
The best possible conclusion to the issue of the MOX plant at Sellafield would be to shut it down. It should not have taken an accident of this magnitude to force that issue to the front of the list. The plant is already one of the "biggest disasters in Britain's industrial history." Yet another bad idea in Sellafield's checkered history.
Steve Conner l The Independent 9 May, 2011
The future of a nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield in Cumbria hangs in the balance after the Japanese Prime Minister called for the closure of a nuclear power station near Tokyo, which was to be the UK plant's most important customer.
The setback is the latest blow to Britain's faltering strategy for dealing with its growing mountain of reprocessed nuclear waste, and further evidence of the extent to which the devastating Japanese earthquake of 11 March has changed the nuclear picture – in particular the international trade in reprocessed nuclear fuel.
If the power plant at Hamaoka, 200km from Tokyo, closes, shipments of nuclear fuel to Japan from the Sellafield Mox Plant would stop before they had even started. It is the latest in a long series of problems for the nuclear fuel plant at the Sellafield complex which had already cost taxpayers £1.34bn even before the impact of the earthquake and tsunami was felt.
As Britain faces a MOX crisis at Sellafied, so the US looks at the same crisis at Savannah River Site. The failed MOX plant at SRS has long been a contentious issue between the site boosters, and impacted residents and environmentalists.
On a tract of government land along the Savannah River in South Carolina, an army of workers is building one of the nation’s most ambitious nuclear enterprises in decades: a plant that aims to safeguard at least 43 tons of weapons-grade plutonium by mixing it into fuel for commercial power reactors.
The project grew out of talks with the Russians to shrink nuclear arsenals after the cold war. The plant at the Savannah River Site, once devoted to making plutonium for weapons, would now turn America’s lethal surplus to peaceful ends. Blended with uranium, the usual reactor fuel, the plutonium would be transformed into a new fuel called mixed oxide, or mox...
...But 11 years after the government awarded a construction contract, the cost of the project has soared to nearly $5 billion. The vast concrete and steel structure is a half-finished hulk, and the government has yet to find a single customer, despite offers of lucrative subsidies.
Now, the nuclear crisis in Japan has intensified a long-running conflict over the project’s rationale.
MOX fuel takes another, long deserved, hit at Sellafield, as prospective Japanese buyers back away after Fukushima. This will maroon the MOX fuel in Britain. What's their answer? Build another MOX plant at tremendous cost to British taxpayers, and with no real customers on the horizon.
The Independent l Steve Connor, Science Editor 11 April, 2011
The nuclear crisis in Japan threatens a carefully choreographed UK Government plan to tackle the world's biggest mountain of plutonium waste stored at the Sellafield site in Cumbria.
Japanese about nuclear power following the near-meltdown at the Fukushima plant has led to a freeze in the international trade of reprocessed nuclear fuel that the Government sees as critical to solving Britain's own plutonium problem.
The Government's preferred strategy to eliminate the UK's growing plutonium stockpile centres on a technology that was developed to meet the demands of the Japanese market, yet there are now fears that Japan is about to turn its back on the enterprise.