Fuel Options Announcement

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Future Management Of Nuclear Fuel At Dounreay.

Mr Brian Wilson, Minister of State for Industry, Energy and Environment, made an announcement today following a public consultation exercise last year about the options for management of spent nuclear fuel at Dounreay.

UKAEA welcomed the Government's announcement about the future management of nuclear fuel at Dounreay.

Site Director Peter Welsh said the decision not to reprocess any more fuel at Dounreay would enable UKAEA to begin decommissioning its reprocessing facility (known as D1206) and pursue the other options for dealing with all nuclear material at the site.

He said: "Having a clear decision is in the best interests of Dounreay and the site restoration plan. Publication of the Dounreay Site Restoration plan last October demonstrated the totality of the work necessary to implement it. The 60 year programme will make very significant demands on the resources of the UKAEA, our contractors, and the regulators. Against this background, we welcome a decision which will focus resources on decommissioning.

"Today's decision removes the uncertainty about the future requirements for D1206 and allows us the opportunity to agree, with the regulators, the best treatment for each of the different fuels at the Dounreay. The material covered by the Minister's announcement is part of Dounreay's 109 tonne fuel inventory. The unique and novel nature of some of these fuels means different treatments will be appropriate for individual materials. These may include storage of some material at Dounreay, or treatment or storage of material elsewhere. We will study the options closely with the regulators to identify the best way forward for each of the different fuels at Dounreay.

"Decommissioning is our business at Dounreay and dealing with these materials is a part of that job. Our ultimate objective is to remove all this material from Dounreay in line with the site restoration plan.  "The decision not to reprocess at Dounreay will have no impact on staffing levels. The sheer scale of the task of decommissioning this complex site will require all the resources at our disposal. Indeed, UKAEA is currently increasing its staffing level to meet that challenge".