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Radioactive Waste: Waste Management

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what quantity of high activity radioactive waste has been returned to each port in each country of origin in 2010; and whether all of the radioactive waste in each consignment arose directly from the reprocessing of imported spent nuclear fuel. (323346)

Two shipments each consisting of 28 high level waste (HLW) canisters in one transport flask, with each canister (vitrified waste and stainless steel) weighing up to 550 kg, have been returned to date in 2010. One shipment was made to Mutsu Ogawara in Japan the other to Vlissingen in the Netherlands.

The HLW being returned is a blend of the HLW arising from the reprocessing of overseas and UK spent nuclear fuel. The amount being returned to each country, in an overall programme expected to last some 10 years, is commensurate with the relevant amount of spent fuel sent to Sellafield for reprocessing.

In accordance with the UK's policy of waste substitution, overseas intermediate and low level waste will remain in the UK and an additional radiologically equivalent amount of HLW will be substituted and returned in its place.

In the case of the shipment to the Netherlands, as this was the only shipment of HLW due to be returned there, it included this additional amount of substituted HLW.

Over the programme to return HLW to Japan, the return of substituted HLW will take place.

The details of the status of individual customers' HLW returns is a commercial matter between the parties involved.