Dounreay Site Restoration (DSRL) confirmed it has sent 11 tonnes of “breeder” material – consisting of radioactive uranium – to Sellafield’s Magnox reprocessing facility last year, representing about a quarter of the material stored on site.
The delivery consisted of 32 shipments, although the company does not reveal the method of transportation for “security” reasons.
The remaining 44 tonnes of breeder material represent approximately 40% of the total inventory of nuclear materials on the site, DSRL said.
The material has been cooling since 1977 when the site’s Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) stopped operating in favour of the more advanced Prototype Fast Reactor( PFR). The breeder material is distinct from other “exotic fuels”, including unirradiated plutonium, whose shipments to Sellafield have commenced more recently.
The movements of radioactive “exotic fuels” has come under criticism from local campaigners who have raised concerns about rail shipments of the material while Cumbria has been hit by flood and storms in recent days.
DSRL has confirmed that recent shipments have arrived “safely and securely” at the Lake District site.
DSRL is owned by the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, a consortium led by industrial engineering and aerospace giant Babcock International.
Other partners in the venture include US firms CH2M and URS, builder of the Kennedy Space Centre, now owned by US industrial giant Aecom.