HL Deb 05 March 1991 vol 526 c65WA
Lord Jenkins of Putney

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether high level radioactive waste has been exported from this country and if there are any plans for the future export of such waste; and what has happened or will happen to high level radioactive waste arising from reprocessing carried out in this country.

Lord Cavendish of Furness

Spent nuclear fuel from both the UK and overseas is reprocessed at facilities in this country. Since 1976, overseas reprocessing contracts have contained options for the return of waste arising and it is intended that waste will be returned. It is planned that all high-level waste (HLW) arising in the UK will be converted into glass blocks by a vitrification process. HLW arising from post-1976 overseas contracts will then be returned to its country of origin as soon as practicable after vitrification. HLW arising from UK spent fuel, and from pre-1976 overseas contracts, will be stored for at least 50 years to allow the heat output of the blocks to fall before disposal in the UK. No HLW has yet been returned overseas but the necessary preparatory work is already under way. BNFL's new plant, which will carry out the vitrification work, was officially opened on 26th February.