Future of Thorp 'not in danger'

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THE THORP nuclear reprocessing plant is in no danger of cancellation, Britain has told the German government, writes Nicholas Schoon.

This private reassurance was given to Bonn when Whitehall began final public consultations in August on whether Thorp should receive an operating licence. Its disclosure has infuriated anti-Thorp campaigners, who say it exposes the consultation as a pointless farce.

Dr Karl-Heinz Berg, head of the nuclear waste section in the German environment ministry, said he had been told the consultation exercise was 'a matter of precaution'.

The UK government had told him it wanted to ensure that any legal action challenging the issue of a licence to Thorp would be defeated. This was the reason for the final consultation exercise. Thorp is due to gain one-seventh of its custom from Germany over its first 10 years.