NDA set out Dounreay 'exotic' materials options

Dounreay. Pic: DSRL Dounreay would require new facilities to handle the material, the NDA has said

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Material including fuel containing highly enriched uranium could be transported from Dounreay in Caithness to Sellafield in Cumbria.

The move is one of two options put out for public consultation by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

The other option is to continue to deal with it at Dounreay.

The material is classed as "exotics" and separate from tonnes of breeder material to be moved by rail from Dounreay to Sellafield later this year.

In a newly-published consultation document, the NDA said the "exotics" could be moved in up to 60 journeys over six years starting sometime in 2014 or 2015.

The mode of transport has not been determined at this stage.

The NDA plans to make a decision on the material in March or April.

Its preferred option is to transport the "exotics" by road or rail to Sellafield where there are existing facilities, or ones being built, to handle it.

Doureay's storage sites will have to be upgraded or replaced within the next 15 years, according to the NDA.

The authority added that it would take eight to 10 years to design and build the necessary facilities.

Dounreay, an experimental nuclear power site, is being demolished and cleaned up.

There are three groups of "exotic" material that needs to be dealt with at the site, or transported to Cumbria.

Dounreay's "exotic" material

Type Tonnes Description

Unirradiated plutonium bearing fuels

15 (includes two tonnes of plutonium)

Stored in several locations in the form of powders, pellets and pins. Would require treatment before continued storage, or transportation to Sellafield

Unirradiated high enriched uranium fuels

One in powder and pellet form. Also some uranium metals and alloys

Stored in small quantities. The NDA said the material could be consolidated into larger "more robust" containers for long term storage

Irradiated fuels


Most of the material was fuel for Dounreay's Prototype Fast

Reactor. The NDA said the material had "achieved very high

burn-ups" meaning it needs special handling and transportation arrangements. The authority said fuel was safely and securely stored at the site

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