The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) of the UK and Ireland has called for Britain’s deadly Plutonium stockpile to be placed ‘out of use’, for an early end to reprocessing, and for greater accountability and more transparency about the long-term management of radioactive materials arising from decommissioning operations at the UK’s former nuclear power plants.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is the agency charged with making safe and cleaning closed civil nuclear plants. It has just published a draft Business Plan for 2022-5 and invited comments.
In its response, the NFLA also expressed its disappointment that reprocessing at Sellafield did not end in 2020 as was originally promised and that there is still no clear end date.
The NFLA also wants to see a comprehensive inventory of all radioactive materials created for each site, including those arising from decommissioning operations, and for local authorities to be consulted over arrangements for their transport and management.
Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, said:
“Reprocessing at Sellafield continues to pollute the marine environment of the North East Atlantic and Plutonium is perhaps the most-deadly material known to mankind. As a result of our nuclear civil and defence programmes, and because past Government policy invited other nations to send us their nuclear waste for reprocessing, we have a huge stockpile. Plutonium can be converted into nuclear weapons, and so in our view it should be made safe and placed ‘out of use’”.
For more information please contact: Richard Outram, Secretary, NFLA email Richard.email@example.com / mobile 07583 097793
Notes to Editors
The NDA draft Business Plan and the link to the consultation can be found at:
The NFLA responses to relevant sections of the NDA’s consultation on the draft business plan in
‘Page 21 – Spent Fuels
The NFLA was disappointed that Magnox reprocessing at Sellafield did not end in 2020 in accordance with the original OSPAR Sintra resolution to reduce radioactive emissions into the North East Atlantic to close to zero by 2020. We note that closure has now been further delayed, because of Covid, to this year. However, the Business Plan gives no indication of a more precise closure date. NFLA would encourage the NDA to close this plant as early as possible in 2022, rather than allowing it to continue causing the unnecessary pollution of the North East Atlantic until the end of the year.
Page 23 – Nuclear Materials
We note on pages 23 and 60 that the NDA is still considering the reuse of plutonium. NFLA is strongly opposed to this and would encourage the NDA to impress of the Government the need to treat plutonium as a waste form and work towards placing the UK’s huge stockpile beyond use.
Page 24 – Integrated Waste Management
In view of the emphasis given in this draft Business Plan to what the NDA calls its ‘Integrated Waste Management Strategy’ we would like to res-state something we said in response to last year’s draft Business Plan:
‘In the absence of agreement between the NFLA and the NDA on nuclear waste management in general and the waste hierarchy in particular, we think it is incumbent on the NDA to provide stakeholders at each of its sites with an inventory of waste already present and which will be produced during the decommissioning process along with its likely proposed destination.
‘This allows for easy understanding and comparison to the NFLA demand that if any part of a nuclear site is proposing to allow unrestricted use, it must be able to show that doses to members of the public will be of the order of 0.01mSv or less per year.
‘This process should allow local authorities which are expected to host waste management facilities off-site – such as landfill sites, and local authorities on transport routes – to be part of the active policy conversation.’