- Define Credible Options
- Assess and Select Preferred Option
- Approve Strategy
- Implement Strategy
Keep informed with the latest news and developments from the NDA
27 June 2012
Alternatives to re-use of plutonium as MOX fuel
NDA completes review of responses to our call for proposals for alternatives to re-use of plutonium as MOX fuel.
29 February 2012
Overview of Higher Activity Waste published
The NDA has published an overview of all its higher activity waste (HAW), providing details of where the material arises and how it is being dealt with.
23 February 2012
Proposals sought for alternative plutonium re-use
The NDA is seeking proposals on potential alternative approaches for managing the UK’s plutonium stocks alongside providing support to the Government as it progresses its preferred policy of converting the material into Mixed Oxide fuel (MOX) for reactors.
07 February 2012
Credible options on Dounreay nuclear materials
The NDA has published a Credible Options Study covering the remaining nuclear materials at Dounreay referred to as ‘exotics’.
21 May 2010
New Storage Facility opens at Sellafield
Sellafield Ltd, under ownership of NMP, delivered its Product and Residues Store ahead of schedule and under budget.
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Last Updated: 01 December 2011
Current Stage of Strategy Development
Assess and select preferred option
The current strategy of continued storage is being implemented on our sites, while credible options for a new Plutonium strategy are being considered by Government.
Plutonium is separated from irradiated nuclear fuel by reprocessing and is currently kept in secure storage pending a future decision on its disposition.
To ensure the safe management then ultimate disposition of UK owned plutonium.
Scope and Boundaries
This Topic Strategy relates to the UK civil plutonium stockpile belonging to NDA and British Energy, a part of Edf Energy. It does not include plutonium owned by the Ministry of Defence or plutonium owned by overseas utilities. Similarly it does not include the conversion of plutonium containing wastes to a solid form.
The plutonium strategy interfaces with a number of other topics including:
- Spent Magnox fuel strategy is related because reprocessing magnox fuel increases plutonium stocks
- Spent oxide fuel strategy is related because reprocessing oxide fuel increases plutonium stocks
- Spent exotic fuel strategy is related because it could add small quantities of plutonium to the current inventory
- Higher Activity Wastes strategy is related because of the potential that disposal of plutonium could increase the quantity of waste for disposal.
At a high level, the strategic options that apply to plutonium are:
- Continued long term storage (prior to disposal)
- Reuse as fuel followed by disposal
- Prompt immobilisation and disposal as soon as practicable
The Government's response to its consultation supports the preliminary view that reuse of plutonium as MOX fuel is the best available option to manage the UK's plutonium. The Government is now commencing the next phase of work, to determine whether its preferred option could be implemented safely and securely, that it is affordable, deliverable and offers value for money for the taxpayer. NDA continues to support Government in the development and implementation of its preferred policy.
Stakeholder Engagement on Plutonium
There has been extensive engagement on the development of options with a broad range of stakeholders including:
- Non-Governmental Organisations
- nuclear industry and
- the public.
A plutonium options paper was subject to public consultation during summer 2008 and we analysed the responses from stakeholders and fed back the views we received, incorporating them into the advice that we provided to Government in January 2009: in the form of a credible options. The 2008 NDA Credible Options was followed by a Government led workshop and the publication of two discussion papers by Government on the options for the long term management of plutonium.
This NDA credible options paper was updated in December 2010 with new information to reflect progress made since 2008 and also to incorporate the findings of Government's plutonium workshop and discussion papers comments.
The current version of the NDA's Plutonium Credible Options study is published to align with the launch of Government's Plutonium Management Consultation.
We developed the series of credible options, based on engagement with a variety of stakeholders:
- Nuclear Materials Sub-group of the National Stakeholder Group
- Regulators; and
- Government departments.
- More information on Government's previous stakeholder engagement (DECC website)
October and November 2008
We sought more industry data to support our options analysis to underpin the technical assumptions we have made. We also wanted to understand if the approach we are taking in terms of defining and analysing the credible options is reasonable i.e.
- what we should be taking into consideration when we are analysing the options
- where we have made assumptions that involve value judgements that these are sensible
August - October 2008
Online consultation - Plutonium Options
We welcomed comment on our draft plutonium options paper. Closing date for submitting comments was 8 October 2008.
Plutonium Disposition Technical Meeting
People from industry, Government Departments and Regulators met to engage over the technical assumptions that we had made. They told us that we needed to do some more work in understanding the impact of the repository costs on the options and on assessing the levels of uncertainty associated with potential solutions.
The output from that workshop was available for comment from August until October 2008.
2006 - 2007
Nuclear Materials Issue Group
A sub-group of the National Stakeholder Group advised that we should model the environmental (CO2 and radiotoxicity) and socio-economic impacts of each of the plutonium options in addition to the macro-economics. We built this into the model and it forms part of the analysis on credible options.
2005 - 2008
Sub Group of Senior Regulatory Forum
A number of Regulators and Government departments were engaged through a sub-group of the senior regulatory forum. They had input into the modelling approach and the definition of credible options.