NDA: Management of separated plutonium

01 October 2008

In October 2008 the Royal Society submitted evidence to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's (NDA's) consultation on management options for the UK's separated plutonium. This submission builds on our 2007 report, Strategy Options for the UK's Separated Plutonium. The key points raised in the submission include:

  • The Government must develop and implement a strategy for the management of the UK's stockpile of separated plutonium as an integral part of its energy and radioactive waste polices.
  • This strategy cannot be discussed in isolation from decisions about new nuclear power stations in the UK.  Burning the stockpile in new nuclear power stations would be an effective and technically proven reuse and waste management strategy for the UK's separated plutonium prior to final disposal.
  • Decisions about the management of the stockpile should also be incorporated in the NDA's current deliberations about developing and delivering a UK nuclear waste strategy in general, and the design and operation of a geological repository in particular.
  • A proposal to sell the UK's plutonium stockpile would be deeply controversial and would face significant economic and political challenges. Selling the stockpile could set a precedent for nuclear proliferation.

In December 2008, the Society raised these issues in a letter to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
Other Links

2008 plutonium letter to Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

2007 plutonium letter to Alastair Darling, former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

1998 report The Management of Separated Plutonium