GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Signs MOU Agreement with National Nuclear Laboratory to Work on Tackling UK Plutonium Stockpile
4/4/2012 9:06:00 AM
WORKINGTON, U.K.--With the U.K. government looking at ways to address its growing stockpile of civil plutonium, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd.(NNL). NNL will provide expert technical input to the potential U.K. deployment of GEH's innovative PRISM reactor, which would be specifically designed to disposition the U.K.'s plutonium while generating 600 megawatts of low-carbon electricity.
"With our recognized technical capability and long experience in fuel cycle analysis, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energyhas looked to NNL to provide independent and authoritative input to the potential U.K. application of a PRISM reactor"
GEH also spent the day meeting 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. The U.K. government confirmed its intention to reuse this plutonium in December 2011, declaring thatit "remains open to any alternative proposals for plutonium management that offer better value to the U.K. taxpayer." The Nuclear DecommissioningAuthority (NDA) recently announced in February 2012 that it is seeking proposalsfor alternative approaches to manage the U.K.'s plutonium stockpile.
"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. "We believe that PRISM is the best way to manage the U.K.'s plutonium stockpile efficiently, securely and safely while generating low-carbon electricity at the same time."
"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, which operates a number of researchfacilities in the U.K. including the flagship Central Laboratory on the Sellafield site. "We look forward to working with GEH as they develop their approach to helping the U.K. address its plutonium legacy."
Today, GEH, along with leading U.K. engineering firms Costain, Arup and PÃ¶yry, (GEH's "CAP Alliance" partners), met face-to-face with the number of highly talented and experienced nuclear sector suppliers in West Cumbria at the ENERGUS centre in Lillyhall, Workington. GEH iscommitted, to the greatest extent possible, to utilizing U.K. companies and workers. Currently, General Electric Company, one of GEH's parents, has approximately 18,000 U.K. employees countrywide.