To generate electricity for a city of 1 million people for 1 year:___Mine 3,200,000 tonnes of coal - emit 8,500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases and particulates - landfill 900,000 cubic metres of toxic/radioactive fly-ash.___OR___Mine 50,000 tonnes of uranium ore - emit no greenhouse gases - produce 24 tonnes of radiotoxic 'waste'.___OR___Mine 50 tonnes of equivalent thorium ore - emit no greenhouse gases - produce 0.8 tonnes of radiotoxic 'waste'.
Nuclear Waste Problem - What Nuclear Waste Problem?
Memorandum of Understanding to study the Breeder Reactor Solution to the UK's Plutonium Stockpile.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) on handling UK plutonium.
NNL will provide expert technical input to the potential U.K. deployment of GEH’s innovative PRISMreactor, which would be specifically designed to deal with the UK’s plutonium while generating 600 megawatts of low-carbon electricity.
GEH met with a number of skilled nuclear workers in West Cumbria to learn how they could work with GEH on PRISM’s potential deployment.
The country is currently storing more than 87 metric tons (and growing) of plutonium at the Sellafield nuclear complex in West Cumbria, England.
“We are excited for the potential opportunity to utilize the expertise of NNL and help the U.K. continue to take a leadership role in the reuse of plutonium,” said Danny Roderick, senior vice president of new plant projects for GEH.
“With our recognized technical capability and long experience in fuel cycle analysis, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has looked to NNL to provide independent and authoritative input to the potential U.K. application of a PRISM reactor,” said Paul Howarth, managing director of NNL.
Today, GEH, along with leading U.K. engineering firms Costain, Arup and Pöyry, (GEH’s “CAP Alliance” partners), met face-to-face with the number of highly talented and experienced nuclear sector suppliers in West Cumbria.
Should PRISM be approved for construction, in addition to creating about 900 permanent jobs and thousands of expected indirect jobs for the local community, this multibillion-pound investment would stand to create a range of opportunities for suppliers while continuing to develop the country’s nuclear energy skills base.
Drawing of the PRISM Reactor (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module)
PRISM is based on technology that was demonstrated in a fast reactor in the U.S. called the EBR II (Experimental Breeder Reactor) that operated successfully for 30 years. Calculations have shown that PRISM technology would use practically all the stored plutonium at Sellafield, as PRISM consumes much of the plutonium as a true fuel.