Plans revealed to ship nuclear waste from Sizewell to Bradwell

Bradwell Power Station. Photo: Ian Clarke.

Bradwell Power Station. Photo: Ian Clarke.

Nuclear waste could be shipped across Suffolk and north Essex under new plans from the operators of the former Bradwell power station site.

Sizewell Power Station. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown.

Sizewell Power Station. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown. - Credit: Archant

Magnox has unveiled proposals to store intermediate level nuclear waste from Sizewell A at the old nuclear power plant in Essex.

If approved by the authorities, including the nuclear watchdog and Essex County Council, the process of transporting a maximum of 15 packages could begin next year.

The move is expected to save tax payers around £15million in building costs for a waste store at Sizewell, with the material being held in surplus space at Bradwell, and result in 600 fewer lorry movements.

Nationally the revised waste strategy from Magnox will save £200m, with £30m coming from using the provision at Bradwell.

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Tony Moore, Magnox chief operating officer for England, said: “Safety and the environment remain our top priorities as we consider amending the Magnox waste strategy to safely deliver the best value for the taxpayer.

“We are grateful for the time and input our local stakeholders have provided to date, and will continue to work closely with them as our plans progress.”

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Although full details are still to be finalised Magnox has confirmed it intends to use rail as the main method of transporting the waste between the two sites, with lorries taking the material between rail heads and the power stations.

There could also be some financial benefit for local communities around Bradwell as part of any planning permission granted by Essex County Council.

A Magnox spokesman said rail transport of nuclear waste had taken place safely for more than 50 years.

She added: “We have every confidence in the security of our transport. There are appropriate security measures in place and we are regulated nationally as part of an international scheme on this.

“Our previous proposals included building an intermediate level waste store at Sizewell. We now believe there will be space in the existing store at Bradwell to hold a small number of additional packages from Sizewell, less than 15.”

The total waste is expected to be around 57 cubic metres.

Bradwell is still set to receive waste from Dungeness under the revised plans, although it will be sent less of it.

Andy Blowers, chairman of the Bradwell Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), said: “A precedent has been set for Bradwell to become a dumping ground for dangerous radioactive wastes from other sites for the indefinite future.

“I cannot emphasise enough the potential threats facing the Blackwater communities from current nuclear policies.

“The importing of wastes from elsewhere is small beer compared to what could happen if new reactors and even a national repository were to occupy this lovely, low-lying and precious environment bringing danger to our doorstep extending down the generations.

“We must hope none of this will happen but we must remain vigilant. Precedents, once set, can be difficult to reverse.”

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