The Unite union says its Sellafield workers approve of closing the existing Sellafield Mixed Oxide (Mox) recycling plant, as long as a new plant is built in its stead.
Sellafield are calling on the Government to close the Mox plant at Sellafield, but only on the condition that a new and more efficient Mox plant is built simultaneously and adjacent to the existing one.
The Union says the existing plant is extremely inefficient, but a new plant could demonstrate a significant increase in productivity. A Mox plant in France reprocesses 195t of plutonium per year compared to just 2t per year in Sellafield, they say.
Unite’s national officer, Dougie Rooney, said: “The Mox plant at Sellafield is appallingly inefficient and badly designed. Our members at Sellafield believe the plant should be de-fuelled and decommissioned while a properly designed and efficient plant is built adjacent to the existing site. The staff working at the Mox Plant should be utilised to carry out this work so there would be no need for job cuts.
“The French have built an extremely efficient plant which recycles 195t of toxic waste a year compared to the paltry two tonnes a year that the Sellafield plant manages. The technology exists and Areva, one of the partners at Sellafield, has the know-how.
“The UK needs the technological ability to recycle toxic waste, but the current Mox Plant falls far from the mark in terms of efficiency. The UK urgently needs to build a new Mox Plant utilising the current workforce while the existing one is closed.
Unite says Mox technology does present the opportunity to design and manufacture an extremely efficient plant capable of re-cycling toxic waste which would otherwise have to be stored.