A north American environmental group is pleading for the UK not to dump Dounreay’s toxic nuclear waste in the US. The plea follows a surprise announcement by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at a nuclear summit in Washington last week that 700 kilograms of highly enriched uranium would be transported from the Caithness nuclear site to the US. It’s the largest shipment of its kind between the two countries. The uranium comprises a mixture of radioactive powders, pellets and compounds mostly left by an old test reactor, which closed down in 1969. Part of a problematic group of so called “exotic fuels” at Dounreay, they were previously due to be sent to the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria. There are fears that the uranium could be stolen and made into radioactive dirty bombs by terrorists. Some could be already enriched to high enough levels to be used in nuclear weapons. Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch in South Carolina, said: “In reality this is nuclear dumping”. He argued that the UK as a nuclear weapons state should look after its own waste. “The US and UK must explain why they are engaged in commerce in nuclear weapons materials when, from a nuclear non-proliferation perspective, this material would best be left in the UK,” he said. “While the clean-up of the Dounreay site is essential, the UK can manage the clean-up of its own nuclear sites and not involve the US government.” Obama’s nuclear security summit was presented to the world as if it were about securing materials that posed a risk, Clements argued. “But this deal with Dounreay affirms that the summit was manipulated to also be about nuclear dumping.” Clements pointed out that the US already provides uranium for medical isotope reactors, and has a large stockpile. There was likely to be “little connection” between the Dounreay shipment and exports to Europe, he claimed.
Ferret 4th April 2016 read more »
Plan agreed with stakeholders to manage the ‘Exotic’ HEU fuel at Sellafield ditched without consultation in covert deal rushed through with Government to meet Washington Summit timetable. The deal announced by Government in a press release of 31st March will see some 700kg of unirradiated Highly Enriched Uranium, categorised by the NDA as Exotic fuels and currently stored safely at Dounreay, transported to the US in exchange for US material being sent to Europe for conversion to medical isotopes. Options for the management of Dounreay’s Exotic HEU had previously been assessed under Public Consultation processes in 2012 and 2013, with NDA announcing in 2013 its preferred option as transferring the material to Sellafield for long-term management. Since then no option updates have been published by the NDA Core’s campaign co-ordinator Martin Forwood said to day: “Never mind the ‘win-win’ deal for the UK and US described by Government, this is no more than a ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ agreement hatched by two Governments who clearly have little regard for the security of nuclear weapons-usable materials. How can the threat of nuclear terrorism possibly be curbed – an action demanded by the Washington Summit – when UK and US leaders, with the connivance of the NDA, are prepared to deliberately expose this weapons –useable HEU to the obvious and very real dangers of trans-Atlantic shipment and terrorist threat”.
CORE 4th April 2016 read more »