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Nuclear Waste

Volume 76: debated on Monday 1 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the estimated costs per tonne of (a) reprocessing and (b) storing spent nuclear fuel.

British Nuclear Fuels plc provided the following information on the storage and reprocessing of oxide fuels in its evidence to the Sizewell inquiry (BNFL/P/1/Exhibit 26).

Cost estimates for a notional 600tU pa reprocessing plant and associated facilities and operations
Costs (March 1982 Money Values)
Plant or Operational Item*CapitalOperating
(£ million)(£ million pa)
Storage pond (600tU module)552
Fuel dismantler (AGR only)1152
Reprocessing plant (including buffer storage for HLW liquid)86030
Waste treatment facilities (including storage prior to disposal)28010
Waste Disposal
High level (HLW)2305
Intermediate level (ILW)†40†3
Low level (LLW)†0·2
* Excludes decommissioning costs which are assumed at 40 per cent. of the initial capital expenditure (in constant money terms).
† Based on information supplied by NIREX.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if it is the policy of his Department that the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is an indispensable part of nuclear power generation; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the Prime Minister's answer to his question on 18 January 1985 at columns 235–236.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the current annual requirement of the United Kingdom nuclear power industry for reprocessing capacity; and what proportion this represents of total United Kingdom reprocessing capacity.

British Nuclear Fuels plc can reprocess up to 1,500 tonnes (uranium) per year of spent Magnox fuel. The United Kingdom generating boards' typical requirement for reprocessing this fuel is about 800 to 900 tonnes per year. AGR fuel is currently stored pending reprocessing in the THORP facility.