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Nuclear Reactors

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the effective energy recovery from uranium by using an advanced gas-cooled reactor, a pressure water reactor and a fast reactor, respectively.

I am advised that the effective energy recovery per tonne of natural uranium is: AGR, 14,500 tonnes coal equivalent; PWR, 18,000 tonnes coal equivalent.If used fuel is reprocessed and recycled through these systems, the energy extraction could be increased by about 50 per cent. If the used fuel is reprocessed and recycled through the fast reactor system, about 60 per cent. of the potential energy content of the uranium can be extracted—that is, about 2 million tonnes of coal equivalent per tonne of natural uranium.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the uranium charge of each magnox reactor and advanced gas-cooled reactor in use in the United Kingdom; and how much separately the amount of plutonium he estimates will be produced by each during the effective life of the stations.

The table below shows the tonnage of uranium which I am advised is required for a full charge for each of the nuclear power stations currently operated by or under construction for the United Kingdom generating boards:

StationTonnes U at Equilibrium
Magnox (Natural uranium)
Hinkley A700
Dungeness A610
Hunterston A500
AGR (approximate natural uranium equivalent of low enriched fuel elements)
Dungeness B960
Hinkley B840
Hunterston B840
I am advised that at 31st March 1977 there were 7·5 tonnes of separated plutonium in stock arising from the reprocessing of fuel from Magnox stations operated by the home generating boards. The plutonium expected to be obtained from that date on present estimates of their operating lives amount to some 49 tonnes, as follows:

Hinkley A
Dungeness A5
Hunterston A