§ Dr. John Cunningham
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what quantity of spent fuel from United Kingdom nuclear power stations he expects to be reprocessed in the Thorp plan at Sellafield.
§ Mr. John Moore
It is expected that not less than 2,000 tonnes of spent fuel from the United Kingdom's nuclear programme will be reprocessed in Thorp. This figure is less than envisaged at the time of the Windscale inquiry. There have been delays in the commissioning of three AGR stations, and initially they are expected to operate below their design output. Significant improvements in AGR fuel burn-up are planned which will reduce the tonnage of irradiated fuel arisings. The commencement of construction of the two additional AGRs at Heysham and Torness was also delayed. The consequent reduction in domestic requirements will leave some 900 tonnes of spare capacity in Thorp during its first 10 years of operation. BNFL has been authorised to seek further business abroad to fill this. Any new foreign contracts will include options providing for the return to customers of radioactive wastes arising from reprocessing.