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Sellafield map with Dublin, Scotland, London
Sellafield Fenceline with one "Folly" filtered chimney
Sellafield Nuclear Site, Cumbria, England

Even as Japan is starting up more nuclear reactors, it has found a neat trick for dealing with the plutonium waste generated by nuclear power stations: Send it elsewhere. At the Sellafield nuclear site, the UK reports 126.3 metric tons of “civilian” plutonium, as of December 2014: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/infcirc549a8-18.pdf Around 21 tons is Japanese. Even if Japan eventually repatriates its plutonium, some will stay in Nordic air and seas – legally emitted during fuel “reprocessing”. Meanwhile, The US DOE wants to let Japan dump almost one ton of plutonium on the USA. See more: http://www.srswatch.org

In the British Parliament:
Energy: Plutonium
Question
Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will state how much of the 140 tonnes of civil separated plutonium that will be held by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the United Kingdom on completion of reprocessing operations is owned by Japanese organisations; what income is being received from those organisations for storage of

10 Mar 2014 : Column WA347

that plutonium; and what discussions they have had with the Japanese owners about the possible future use of their plutonium in United Kingdom reactors.[HL5692]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The latest published figures show that in the UK there is about 24 tonnes of plutonium belonging to foreign bodies, most of which is Japanese. These latest figures can be found at:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/safeguards/civilplut12.htm.

The income figures relating to storage of plutonium is commercially sensitive information. In relation to discussions about possible future use of Japanese plutonium, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and its subsidiary International Nuclear Services regularly have dialogue with the plutonium owners in relation to their management plans.” OPL:http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140310w0001.htm (Emphasis our own. Note that as nuclear fuel is “processed” the plutonium pile grows bigger.)

According to the Japanese Government: “As of the end of 2014, the total amount of separated plutonium both managed within and outside of Japan was approximately 47.8 tons, approximately 10.8 tons of which was held domestically and the rest of approximately 37.0 tons was held abroad. The stockpile held abroad was separated from spent fuel of Japanese nuclear power plants in reprocessing facilities in the UK and France under contracts with Japanese electric utilities. ①Reprocessing of spent fuel which was consigned to France has been completed and approximately 16.3 tons of separated plutonium is held there at of the end of 2014. ②In the U.K, approximately 20.7 tons of separated plutonium is held including approximately 0.7 ton which was separated and added to the stock in 2014. Approximately 1 ton of plutonium from the remaining spent fuel consigned to the U.K. will be separated and added to the stockpile by 2018, when the reprocessing facility in the U.K. is scheduled to be closed.
http://www.aec.go.jp/jicst/NC/iinkai/teirei/siryo2015/siryo28/siryo3_e.pdf (Emphasis added)

20.7 tons is approx. 46,000 pounds
1 Short Ton [US] = 907.18474 Kilograms
1 Long Ton [UK] = 1 016.04691 Kilograms
1 Metric Ton = 1 000 Kilograms

1 kg is 2.2 pounds (lbs)

The part of the UK where Sellafield is located has been heavily impacted by flooding this month. Two rivers run through the site. The River Calder “runs straight through the site of Sellafield nuclear power plant where it gives its name to Calder Hall, site of the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor. It flows into the Irish Sea at the same point as the River Ehen, just southwest of Sellafield. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Calder,_Cumbria (See River Calder running through the site at the link). And yet no news appears forthcoming regarding the impacts of the rains and flooding upon the site or upon access to the site. (Note that there is more than one River Calder in the UK.)

NASA video of rains earlier this month, which resulted in washed out roads and bridges. However, there have been more rains.

http://pmm.nasa.gov/extreme-weather/imerg-measures-flooding-rainfall-northwest-england