The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today reacted with distress to reports that the THORP reprocessing plant at Sellafield is gearing up to re-start operations. This comes almost three years after an incredible disregard for safety allowed 18,000 gallons of radioactive waste to become ‘lost’ within the plant.

The local ‘Whitehaven News’ reports that the plant, designed to separate out uranium and plutonium from spent fuel so it can be re-used, is undergoing what is “virtually a trial period” after the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate gave consent for a phased re-start. Final consent is subject to performance over the next few weeks.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “How can we trust the organisation that allowed a leak of over 20 tons of plutonium to start this operation again? THORP should be closed down for good and the foreign nuclear waste returned to where it came from”.

THORP, which received spent nuclear fuel waste from as far afield as Japan has also requested permission to conduct ‘virtual reprocessing’. This means the foreign waste will remain in the UK indefinitely whilst other reprocessing products are shipped back to foreign customers.

Kate Hudson continued “At a time when terrorist groups have been trying to get their hands on materials for a ‘dirty bomb’, shipping huge amounts of radioactive material around the worlds’ oceans is simply not a risk worth taking. Despite a fine of half a million pounds, the lax safety culture of the Sellafield management means it’s only a matter of time before the next major accident.”


Notes to Editors:

For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.