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BNFL cleared to receive Mox shipment

2 July 2002 – UK nuclear energy group BNFL obtained clearance Monday from the Environment Agency to take delivery of a shipment of unwanted nuclear fuel from Japan.

The shipment is being returned to BNFLs Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria after being rejected by a Japanese utility following revelations of document falsification in 1999. Greenpeace said it would be taking advice to establish if there were grounds for a judicial review of the Environment Agency’s decision.

Environmental group Greenpeace have campaigned to block the shipment, claiming that as nuclear waste it required additional authorisation to be brought into the UK. The Environment Agency, Britain’s pollution watchdog, said it was satisfied that BNFL intended to recover and re-use the mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel, known as Mox.

Greenpeace fear that the shipment poses a security threat because plutonium could be separated from the fuel and used to make a so-called “dirty bomb” if it fell into terrorist hands.