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Radioactive Waste

Volume 228: debated on Thursday 8 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the relative effectiveness of (a) dry storage of spent AGR fuel as waste in a store such as that proposed for Torness by Scottish Nuclear or (b) reprocessing of the spent fuel as low as reasonably advisable in implementing the principle on minimising exposure to radiation.

Dry storage of spent nuclear fuel is not to be regarded as an alternative to reprocessing but rather as a measure which enables the owners of the spent fuel to defer any decision on whether to reprocess the fuel or to dispose of it directly. Unless a decision has been taken to dispose of it directly, the spent fuel in store is not to be regarded as a waste but as a resource from which uranium and plutonium can be extracted by reprocessing. It is for the owners of the spent fuel to determine whether they wish to implement dry storage and, if so, to satisfy the planning and regulatory authorities that their proposals are acceptable.