British nuclear waste to be sent to central Asia

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The Independent Online

British nuclear Fuels plans to ship 1,800 tons of radioactive materials to Kyrgyzstan for reprocessing, in a scheme that has been condemned as "a back-door route to dump British nuclear waste on an impoverished former Soviet republic".

British nuclear Fuels plans to ship 1,800 tons of radioactive materials to Kyrgyzstan for reprocessing, in a scheme that has been condemned as "a back-door route to dump British nuclear waste on an impoverished former Soviet republic".

The company defended the decision, which will recover 90 tons of reactor-grade uranium while, in effect, removing 10,600 drums of slightly radioactive waste from its Springfields reactor plant near Preston, in north-west England, for disposal in a uranium mine in the central Asian country.

The plan was condemned by activists who pointed out that it would be simpler, and cheaper, to buy fresh uranium directly from the mine.

A spokesman for BNFL Springfields said it was "economically viable to process these residues and extract the uranium, and a benefit is it will reduce the store on site". He said British Energy, which runs the Magnox power stations which would need the fuel, would buy the extracted uranium.

Pete Roche, a consultant to the environmental pressure group Greenpeace said it was "morally objectionable" to send British nuclear products abroad "any way you look at it".

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