HC Deb 30 April 1998 vol 311 cc234-5W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will estimate the total cost of the sodium treatment facilities built at Dounreay; for how many years they are expected to remain in operation; and what potential exists for selling the technology abroad. [39675]

Mr. Battle

I am advised by the UKAEA that the cost of design, manufacture, installation, construction, commissioning and decommissioning of the liquid metal disposal facility to treat the sodium from the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) at Dounreay will be approximately £17 million. It will operate from 1999 to 2001. The facility uses licensed French technology and there is therefore no potential for the UK to sell the technology abroad. As several countries (eg. USA, France, Russia) have sodium cooled reactors which are undergoing decommissioning, there is potential to sell British experience in sodium disposal operations.

The Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) used a sodium potassium alloy (NaK) as a coolant. The total cost of the plant to dispose of this material will be approximately £22 million and disposal will be complete by 2003. Internationally, fast reactors use sodium as a coolant so there is not likely to be significant overseas interest in this technology.

AEA Technology have constructed a sodium disposal plant at Dounreay for the disposal of sodium from Germany. As this is a commercial venture the details of cost and programme are confidential to AEA Technology.