The potential for a nuclear waste-burning reactor has moved a step closer to reality, after completion of a feasibility study on GE-Hitachi‘s proposed Prism fast reactor.

The Guardian says the project, which would see nuclear waste burn as fuel, could offer a solution to the UK’s plutonium waste stockpile.

GE-Hitachi have submitted a thousand-page feasibility report to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

The UK has a large stockpile – around 100 tonnes – of plutonium waste. This is considered a security risk and the government is considering options for its disposal. The current “preferred option” is to convert the plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel (Mox) for use in conventional nuclear reactors.

One of the potential benefits of fast reactors is that they could extract large quantities of energy from nuclear waste.
Dave MacKay
In February, David MacKay, the chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) told the Guardian there was enough energy in the UK’s waste stockpile to power the country for more than 500 years.

A spokesman for the NDA said it will review the Prism and Candu reports and update its advice to the government towards the end of the year. The government will then make a final decision and the proposal selected will be referred to the Office of Nuclear Regulation.

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