RSC welcomes King report on a low carbon nuclear future

29 March 2011

The RSC welcomes the publication today of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment report 'A low carbon nuclear future: Economic assessment of nuclear materials and spent nuclear fuel management in the UK'.

Nuclear energy has been identified by the RSC in its roadmap for the chemical sciences, Chemistry for Tomorrow's World, as being a core component of the energy mix for the UK in order for the country to meet its commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

Dr Brian Carter, environmental sciences programme manager at the RSC, said following the report's recommendations would go a long way to addressing the problems of security supply and waste disposal, and would also provide thousands of jobs.

"The technology outlined in the report, by the former government chief scientist Professor Sir David King, will enable the UK to be self sufficient in fuel for nuclear power for at least the next 60 years, leading to an improvement in the security of energy supply for the country. In addition the recommendations in the report, if implemented, could lead to a 10 billion boost in the economy of the north-west of the UK, while creating around 45,000 new high tech jobs over the next 20-30 years.

"Let's not forget that the UK has the largest stockpile of plutonium in the world from spent nuclear fuel," Dr Carter added, "and safety has to be the main concern when considering nuclear, especially after the awful events in Japan. Professor King is talking about using the spent nuclear fuel currently in storage and converting them to metal oxides that can then be used as fuel for reactors. Doing that would give the UK enough nuclear fuel to last until 2070 and remove the issues with dealing with some of the issues with plutonium waste.

"This report must be welcomed and seriously considered as part of the UK's nuclear strategy of the future."

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