Minister admits total failure of Sellafield 'MOX' plant
Sunday 09 March 2008
It was a deeply embarrassing moment for the Government, though it passed almost without notice.
Late last month, the Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, had to admit to one of the most comprehensive and catastrophic failures in British industrial history – and one that has led directly to the plans to ship weapons-ready plutonium to France.
Answering a question from Dai Davies, the independent MP for Blaenau Gwent, Mr Wicks confessed that a new plant at Sellafield, built amid great controversy at a cost of £473m, had comprehensively failed to work. Originally designed to produce 120 tons a year of "mixed oxide" (MOX) nuclear fuel – made of plutonium and uranium separated from nuclear waste by reprocessing – it had in fact managed only 5.3 tons in five years of operation.
The admission constituted a wholescale vindication for critics, including The Independent on Sunday, who have long denounced the plant as a waste of money based on unproven technology, which could also pose a terrorist risk.
After the assault on the World Trade Center in September 2001, which came just before the plant was given approval to start operations, the then environment minister, Michael Meacher, asked for information on the opportunities it afforded terrorists after reading an article in The Independent on Sunday. But only a cursory review was carried out by the Office for Civilian Nuclear Security, which denied any threat in terms identical to those used by British Nuclear Fuels.
To have your say on this or any other issue visit www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...