NDA publishes Preferred Option on Oxide Fuels

Through publication of its Preferred Option paper the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has now completed its strategic review of the options for the management of oxide fuels.

Oxide fuels include the remaining overseas-derived spent fuels that are being stored at Sellafield pending reprocessing in THORP and also the spent fuels coming from the UK’s fleet of AGR power stations, owned and operated by EDF Energy.

The strategic review confirms the NDA’s position that completing the reprocessing contracts at THORP remains a viable and cost-effective strategy. Any remaining AGR fuel, including any future arisings, will be placed into interim storage pending a decision to dispose of it in a geological disposal facility.

This will result in the reprocessing contracts being complete by 2018, at which time THORP would cease reprocessing activities and enter a post-closure and clean out phase prior to decommissioning. 

Confirmation of the position concerning the future of THORP means that there is now no safety, operational or strategic requirement to replace the existing HASTs (Highly Active Liquor Storage Tanks) that receive this by-product of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. Therefore, following dialogue between NDA, Sellafield Ltd and regulators, there is now no need to procure the replacement HAST project.

PDF Oxide Fuels – Preferred Option June 2012