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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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1950s nuclear material to be shipped to Sellafield

MATERIAL from 1950s nuclear reactors will be transported from the Scottish highlands to be stored in West Cumbria, a government agency has confirmed.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority yesterday said around 26 tonnes of high security material, known as ‘exotics’, will be moved from Dounreay to Sellafield, while a further 100 tonnes of material would remain at the Dounreay site.

Exotics is a range of nuclear fuels used in test reactors at the Dounreay site in the 1950s.

The exotics could be transferred in up to 40 journeys over a six-year period – made by sea and rail, depending on the exact type of material being transported according to rules set by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.However, exact details of the movements are yet to be finalised.

The fuel will be stored at Sellafield before ‘final disposal’.

Around 100 tonnes of material is due to stay at the Dounreay site which would retain maximum security status for a nuclear site.

The NDA executive is due to approve financial arrangements for the move at the end of the 2012/13 financial year and Sellafield and Dounreay will be responsible for planning the move, though it is not yet know how much the movements could cost.

The NDA said: “The movement of this material is part of an agreed strategic approach by the NDA to ensure nuclear materials are moved to where they can best be managed and stored in the long-term, pending final disposal.

“In the case of exotics, Sellafield provides the best expertise and facilities to achieve this.”

A statement released by Sellafield regarding the announcement said: “Sellafield Ltd has world class skills and capability in managing the nuclear fuel cycle and is well positioned to deliver the work scope required.

“The decision underlines Sellafield’s position at the hub of the nuclear fuel cycle, offering a unique service that can be further built on, showcasing the competence of the workforce and the facilities available.’’

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