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Uranium

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy, assuming the life of a nuclear power station to be 20 years and its capacity 1000MW(E), what would be the total requirement of uranium over that period; and if he will estimate the total U238 requirements for nuclear stations already built, and in the course of completion.

I am advised that for a modern thermal reactor power station operating for 20 years at 70 per cent. load factor, the total uranium requirement would be about 3,250–3,500 tonnes depending on reactor type. The total requirements in terms of natural uranium of all the generating boards' stations now in operation or under construction is estimated to be about 60,000 tonnes on the basis of current information about station lives and fuel cycle needs. This figure would be reduced by the recycling of uranium recovered from the reprocessing of irradiated fuel elements.