GE Hitachi proposes PRISM for UK plutonium disposal

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has proposed the construction of a nuclear power plant comprising two Prism fast reactors at Sellafield to assist the UK in disposing of its of reactor-grade plutonium stockpile.

The proposal comes as the UK government consults on ways to manage its stockpile of uranium. The country is currently storing about 112 tonnes of civil separated plutonium at Sellafield, including some 28 tonnes of material belonging to overseas customers. The plutonium stored in the UK has been derived largely from nuclear fuel reprocessing activities that have been ongoing at Sellafield since the 1950s.

GEH has now suggested to the UK government that a plant comprising two 311 MWe Prism (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module) units should be built at Sellafield. The pool-type modules, built below ground level, contain the complete primary system with sodium coolant. These units would irradiate fuel made from the plutonium stored at the site. This fuel would consist of a mix of metal plutonium and depleted uranium. After 45-90 days of irradiation, GEH said that the fuel would be brought up to ‘spent fuel standard’ of radioactivity, after which is could be stored in air-cooled silos. It would then be suitable for disposal alongside the UK’s other high-level forms of radioactive waste.

Courtesy fo WNN: The full report can be read here