Wednesday, March 01, 2006

UK - nuclear weapons waste dump with taxpayers footing the bill

In the debate over the energy policy, people are forgetting the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. In fact, Britain is a dump site for waste from weapons all over the world, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

Over 30,000 tonnes of radioactive waste, including 25,000 tonnes of low level waste at Sellafield, has been created from the reprocessing of spent fuel in Britain since 1976.

This is one-quarter of all radioactive waste.

It makes a mockery of security policies for us to continue down this route.

Yet at the same time, despite the fact that radioactive waste in itself is not allowed to be imported, none of this is yet to be returned back to its country of origin.

This is more than 5% of the high and intermediate radioactive waste stored in Britain, and 25% of all radioactive waste.

DEFRA today publishes proposals for the long-term management of solid low-level radioactive waste in the UK. Please respond.

But how much waste has the UK created from reprocessing since 1976?

Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the countries from which (a) radioactive waste and (b) spent fuel has been received but not yet returned; and what the (i) radioactivity level and (ii) quantity held is in each case. [46037 1 Feb 2006 : Column 552W of Hansards]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 26 January 2006]: The UK does not allow the import of radioactive waste, but overseas spent fuel is received in the UK for reprocessing.

The detail of this, revealing the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, is:


Spent fuel has been received for reprocessing at Sellafield from these countries: Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. To date no waste as a result of reprocessing has been returned overseas.

Details of fuel deliveries and the programming of reprocessing of customer's fuel are operational and commercial matters for British Nuclear Group and its customers, but the total amount of foreign spent fuel to be reprocessed under new reprocessing contracts signed since 1976 is around 4,500 tonnes, which will result in 400, 5,000 and 25,000 cubic metres of High, Intermediate and Low Level Waste respectively.

Non-Sellafield sources

Countries from which spent fuel has been received but not yet returned (amounts in Kg of HM):

Belgium: 13.9
Denmark: 54.3
France: 115.8
Germany: 582.6
Holland: 5.9
Georgia: 4.4

[This is despite the fact that waste return clauses are in force for the above material, excluding Georgia.]

Morley said it is not possible to give current radioactivity levels for this material as the levels on receipt would be considerably different from those today. To attempt to calculate notional radioactivity levels from the above weights could give an erroneous result.

Morley continued: "The total cost of operating, cleaning up and decommissioning the UK's publicly-owned civil nuclear sites, for which the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been given responsibility, is currently estimated at £56 billion. This figure includes the costs of interim management of waste arising from decommissioning and clean-up activity." (Hansards 2 Feb 2006 : Column 624W)

The Low Carbon Kid demands to know:

Why do we the taxpayers have to pay this?

Why is the waste not returned to sender?

Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ;

No comments: