UK's atomic agency in German plutonium swap deal

LONDON, July 13 Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:47am EDT

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - Britain's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will convert four tonnes of plutonium from German nuclear plants stored in the UK into mixed oxide fuel (MOX) that will be used to power reactors, as part of a swap deal announced on Friday.

The deal will also make German utilities' plutonium available in France for manufacture into MOX for use in German reactors, before the national reactor shutdown programme takes effect, the authority said.

Germany made the decision to phase out nuclear power as a source of power generation following last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

The swap deal means that the UK will not need to transport plutonium across borders.

"This will improve security, as it removes the need for the UK to physically transport plutonium previously owned by German utilities from Sellafield to France," the NDA said.

It said the deal would enhance nuclear security across Europe by reducing stockpiles of separated plutonium held in storage.

A three-way deal between the NDA, German utilities and French nuclear developer Areva NC was approved by the Euratom Supply Agency.

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