Work has started on a five-year GBP1 billion (USD1.21 billion) programme to address an identified degradation risk in a small proportion of plutonium canisters stored at Sellafield in northwest England and dating from about 50 years ago. The start has been announced with the opening and repackaging of one such can for the first time. Sellafield Ltd says its long-term plan for dealing with this risk is to build a new retreatment facility, which it estimates will be operational in the mid-2020s. This will enhance the repackaging process by removing impurities in the plutonium which contribute to the degrading process. In parallel to this, it has identified a small proportion of canisters that are degrading faster than previously thought. These need to be repacked before the new facility is available.
World Nuclear News 15th Aug 2019 read more »