To close a part of Sellafield - the MOX plant

Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster has claimed another casualty, as Britain has announced it is closing a plant producing nuclear fuel for reactors.

Britain's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority says it will close a facility in Sellafield, one of only two commercial plants in the world producing so-called mixed oxide nuclear fuel, after the shutdown of the reactors in Japan eliminated its only customers for the plutonium-based fuel, an article in Nature magazine said.

"The reason for this [closure] is directly related to the tragic events in Japan and their ongoing impact on the power markets," NDA head Tony Fountain said. The decision leaves the British nuclear industry with the problem of what to do with the world's largest single stockpile of plutonium.

The troubled Sellafield plant has a long history of technical problems that have reduced its output of fuel from the intended 560 tons to just 15 tons since it opened in 2001.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, only 17 of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors are currently operational, leaving Sellafield without a customer for its only product.


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