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Radioactive Material (Reprocessing And Storage)

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy, assuming that no fuel elements were reprocessed in the United Kingdom, what accumulated tonnage of untreated fuel elements would have to be stored; and on the basis of reprocessing, what tonnage of waste will have accumulated in the United Kingdom by 1980.

I am advised that some 250 tonnes of uranium as irradiated fuel elements will have been discharged from commercial AGR power stations and the prototype AGR and SGHWR at Winfrith by the beginning of 1980. The reprocessing of this fuel would give rise to about 75 tonnes highly-active liquid waste for storage. This fuel could not be reprocessed by 1980 whatever the outcome of the Windscale inquiry.These figures do not include irradiated fuel from Magnox reactors, since it is generally accepted that this must be reprocessed. From the end of 1977 to the beginning of 1980, up to some 2,800 tonnes uranium as Magnox fuel is expected to be reprocessed at Windscale. This would give rise to about 230 tonnes of highly-active liquid waste.