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Plutonium and Uranium: UK Civil Stocks

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 20 July 2006

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Energy (Malcolm Wicks) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The department will be placing the figures for the United Kingdom's stocks of civil plutonium and uranium as at 31 December 2005 in the Libraries of the House. In accordance with our commitment under Guidelines for the Management of Plutonium, we have also sent the figures to the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who will circulate them to member states. The figures will be available on the department's and the IAEA's websites.

The figures show that stocks of unirradiated plutonium in the UK totalled 104.9 tonnes at the end of 2005. Changes from the corresponding figures for 2004 are a consequence of continuing reprocessing operations (e.g. as reflected in the increased quantity of unirradiated separated plutonium in product stores at reprocessing plants). HEU stocks decreased mainly as a result of down-blending. The increase in the civil depleted, natural and low enriched uranium figures reflects the increased stocks at the UK enrichment plant.