Japan crisis reduce activity in Sellafield

The Sellafield Mox Plant (SMP) is entirely dependent on a contract signed last year with 10 Japanese power companies to produce mixed oxide fuel for the country’s fleet of reactors.

The lucrative contract, announced last May, effectively saved the plant from closure.

However, the impending catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant has thrown the country’s atomic industry into turmoil and, in turn, raised doubts over its arrangement with Sellafield.

A Sellafield spokesman said work connected to the contract was still ongoing at the Mox Plant and that there had been no orders from Japan to halt it.

International Nuclear Services (INS), the Government-owned fuel reprocessing service, brokered the deal on behalf of Sellafield.

Spokesman Ben Todd told the News & Star: “This was a really important commercial deal that secured the future of Sellafield’s Mox Plant.

“It is too early to say yet what effects the current situation in Japan may have on that. Our focus at the moment is to offer our customers in Japan any support they need.

“The picture is very fluid in Japan; it is an ongoing situation and it would not be appropriate for us to speculate about what might happen to these contracts in the future.

“It had not been specified under the agreement which power stations the fuel recycled at Sellafield would go to.”

Under the agreement, the Japanese companies had agreed to pay for refurbishments and modifications at Sellafield’s Mox Plant to enable to perform effectively.

That work is continuing and is expected to be complete by about 2015.

BOSSES at Sellafield say they do not know whether the site will be included in safety checks of Britain’s nuclear power stations in the wake of the Japanese crisis.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne confirmed Britain’s reactors would be inspected to ensure they can withstand sudden flooding and torrential storms.

But because Sellafield no longer produces nuclear power, it is not clear whether it will be included.
A spokesman said ministers had not informed site bosses whether it would be included in the inspections.

Source: Cumberland News.


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