A Sellafield Stakeholder committee was told last week that, by the 11th November, THORP would have chopped up (sheared) its last batch of spent fuel, bringing to an end almost a quarter century of operation – a performance described to stakeholders as ‘ mission completed successfully’. As has now become customary for such milestone events, THORP’s performance is already being eulogised in a way that can be reconciled neither with the plant’s ‘mission’ as clearly defined by its owner and developer British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL) nor indeed with the well documented facts on the ground today. For right up to its opening in 1994, plans for THORP’s operations – its mission – were laid out by BNFL through a range of specific and clearly defined performance targets that included not only how much spent fuel would be reprocessed (and at what rate) over specified timescales and how much profit would be made during the first 10 years of operation (the Baseload). . In more general terms BNFL also aired its aspirations of winning new business for THORP and its ability to operate as a ‘recycling’ plant. Against these projections, it is only right that the success or failure of THORP’s mission is judged on whether, in the event, the plant has done ‘what it said on the tin’ in terms of meeting those BNFL targets and hopes.
CORE 12th Nov 2018 read more »