United Kingdom remains undecided on plutonium reuse options

The U.K. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) published a position paper "Progress on approaches to the management of separated plutonium" (PDF) in which it outlined its position regarding alternatives to the use of MOX fuel in light water reactors that was identified as a preferred option in a report released in December 2011. The reassessment process was launched in February 2012. Later in 2012, specific options were added to the list - PRISM fast reactor and Enhanced CANDU 6 reactor.

In the position paper released today, NDA confirmed its commitment to what it called "the three credible reuse options: - reuse as MOX in light water reactors, reuse in CANDU EC6 reactors and reuse in PRISM fast reactors." At the same time, no option was identified as the preferred one. The paper states that "there is insufficient understanding of the options to confidently move into implementation and consider[ing] that significant further work must be undertaken, focusing on technical and commercial risks and uncertainties, to enable DECC and UK Government to ultimately select and subsequently implement its preferred reuse option." As a result, NDA intends "to undertake technical studies over the next 1-2 years with the technology suppliers to establish a consistent level of understanding of risks and uncertainties for each option."