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Sellafield MOX plant to close
03 August 2011
The manufacture of mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel at Sellafield is to stop "at the earliest practical opportunity" to reduce the financial risks to British taxpayers from events in Japan.
Stepping on to a transatlantic flight will expose a person to more radiation than walking around the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan – even in its current state of near-meltdown – according to the UK government's former chief scientist.
Sir David King mounted a robust defence of nuclear power on Wednesday as renewed fears over its dangers buffeted the industry. He said it was the safest form of electricity generation, and that the recovery of most of Japan's nuclear fleet after the worst earthquake in living memory showed that safety systems were working
However, Tony Juniper, a writer, environmental activist and former director of Friends of the Earth, insists that people's fears about nuclear power are entirely rational - Fukushima being a prime example of why this is the case.
He rejects the notion that nuclear energy is the best way to reduce carbon emissions, insisting that renewables are cheaper and less hazardous.
Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, welcomed the announcement, saying: "This hopefully marks the long-overdue end of a dangerous and expensive mistake. The MOX plant has cost the public over £1.4 billion yet has produced less fuel in its whole lifetime than it was meant to make every two months.
"The whole idea of shipping hundreds of tonnes of plutonium-rich spent fuel half way round the world from Japan was madness from the start. Just 11kg of plutonium is enough to make a bomb, so to build a whole business on its transport across thousands of miles of sea on lightly-armed civilian ships was a disaster waiting to happen.