Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 29th February 2012.

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Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter Conservative, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has for the (a) future of Sellafield and (b) long-term storage and handling of spent fuel; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Land adjacent to the existing Sellafield site is one of the eight locations considered suitable for future nuclear power stations and plans to build a new nuclear reactor here were confirmed in June 2011, with a completion date of 2025. Sellafield may, in future, also house other facilities, including a fuel fabrication plant to convert plutonium to MOX fuel, or a viable alternative, for new reactors. Legacy facilities at the site are being decommissioned by Nuclear Management Partners, under contract to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Intermediate and high level waste will continue to be stored safely and securely until a geological disposal facility (GDF) is available.

The credible options paper on spent oxide fuel management, published by the NDA, concluded that the most viable option is to complete the existing contracts and then close the THORP plant; with any future spent fuel arisings being stored and not reprocessed. The assumption is that the spent fuel from new nuclear power stations will be kept on site, in interim storage, until the point at which it is disposed of in a GDF and that the encapsulation of spent fuel will also be carried out on site.

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