Plutonium is a radioactive, fissile material arising from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Should plutonium be stored for the long term, disposed, or recycled into new reactor fuel? This presentation will deal with a number of issues associated with plutonium management; and it will be emphasised that no matter which approach is adopted, technical challenges are inevitable. The UK’s civil plutonium stockpile – around 100 tonnes – is currently considered to be a zero-value asset, although the energy potential of this material is thought to be equivalent to around two billion barrels of oil.
A case for recycling will be made; and operations of the Sellafield Mixed Oxide (MOX) Plant – in which overseas-owned plutonium is manufactured into new reactor fuel – will be described, as will some of the science of MOX fuel.
Mince pies and refreshments will be served from 6.30pm