Unite shocked by decision to close MOX plant

Unite shocked by decision to close MOX plant

Unite, Britain's biggest union, has expressed shock at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's (NDA) decision to close its MOX plant at Sellafield.

Unite is calling for the government to intervene to stave of the closure until the government can decide upon building a second MOX plant (MOX 2) . Its plutonium consultation is long overdue and Unite believes it should lead to a decision to build a second Sellafield MOX plant (see notes to editors).

The NDA claims it made its decision because Japan (its main client) has indicated that it no longer require the services of MOX due to cost. However, the closure of MOX leaves huge questions over how Britain will dispose of its stockpile of plutonium. MOX fuel is a way of utilizing surplus plutonium, which would otherwise be stored as nuclear waste. Britain needs a Mox plant to recycle the UK plutonium stockpile and burn it in new UK reactors.

800 jobs will be affected by the NDA's decision. Unite will be working with Sellafield to ensure these jobs are redeployed and that there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Unite national officer, Kevin Coyne said:

"This is a shocking and frankly bizarre decision. The government is currently deciding whether to give the go ahead for building a new Mox plant. So where is the rationale in closing the current one now? The unions are calling for an urgent meeting with the energy minster, Charles Hendry and the NDA. We want the government to intervene to stave off the closure until a final decision has been made on the future of MOX. Britain needs a MOX plant to recycle the UK plutonium stockpile and burn it in new UK reactors. The NDA's decision is short sighted and ill conceived and we hope it will think again."

ENDS

Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315

notes to editors

Plutonium consultation