Nuclear Fuel to be Returned to UK

LONDONà‚–British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL) will take back a shipment of mixed uranium plutonium fuel delivered to Japan with falsified records last year. Along with accepting the mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, the company will compensate the Kansai Electric Power Company. Kansai Electric now has lifted its suspension on the MOX and reprocessing business.

The MOX fuel was delivered to Japan last October. At issue is the falsified data concerning the specified size of the MOX fuel pellets. The pellets were produced at BNFL’s Selafield nuclear site in Cumbia. During the ordeal, both companies denied any wrongdoing, but eventually, under pressure from Greenpeace, they admitted that the data had been altered.

Even though the United Kingdom and Japanese governments accepted the outcome, Greenpeace still has concerns with BNFL. Greenpeace contends that falsifying data has been underway at the Sellafield plant for more than five years, including shipments to Germany and Switzerland. Because of this and a February report from UK’s Nuclear Installations Inspectorate indicating irregularities, one of Germany’s electric generators, PreussenElektra, removed Sellafield-made fuel rods from its Unterweser power plant.

Inadequate supervision and management contributed to the quality control problems according to BNFL and the UK government. Also in the February report, BNFL highlighted poor employee work ethic and inadequate quality assurance systems compliance and implementation.

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