Public Comments on PRISM

Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change:

“In our consultation response of 2011 we said reuse as Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel is our preferred option for managing our plutonium, but that we remained open to consider alternatives that offered better value to the UK taxpayer. Two alternatives have been proposed; the CANDU EC6 reactor and the GE Hitachi PRISM reactor. The recently published NDA paper has described both of these as credible options. We therefore have three credible options to compare against each other. As the ultimate intention is to find a solution that offers best value to the taxpayer, concentrating the next phase of the NDA’s programme only on the use of CANDU and PRISM reactors would not allow us to compare all options and in turn not allow us to secure best value to the taxpayer.” Response to question asked by Lord Avebury, UK Parliament Hansard, January 28, 2014

Adrian Simper, Director of Strategy, NDA:

“Our current approach is the safe and secure storage of plutonium at Sellafield, however this is not a satisfactory end point; we must find a solution for dealing with this material… We are looking for an industrial solution here. We have significantly enhanced our understanding of the pros and cons of the different systems of disposing of UK plutonium, however it’s too early to choose yet – this is a marathon not a sprint.” Delegates focus on use of plutonium, News and Star, November 28, 2013

George Monbiot, environmentalist and writer:

“The technology with the potential to solve these problems (of climate change, future energy shortfalls and cleaning up nuclear waste) is the fast reactor, ideally the integral fast reactor (IFR)… IFRs, once loaded with nuclear waste, can, in principle, keep recycling it until only a small fraction remains, producing energy as they do so.” We cannot wish Britain’s nuclear waste away, The Guardian blog, February 2, 2012

Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:

“There are a number of options. Clearly there are discussions about whether one of the options should be procuring a new MOX. Some people argue that MOX is a very credible, mature technology and would be the way to go. But you mention alternatives, and, of course we should and will consider the alternatives.” Energy and Climate Change Select Committee evidence session, Houses of Parliament Hansard, January 23, 2013

Sir David King, former Government Chief Scientific Adviser:

“[Fourth-generation reactors and nuclear-waste recycling] …makes geological disposal much less of a challenge (and arguably even unnecessary) and nuclear waste a minor environmental issue compared to hazardous wastes produced by other industries.” The top 10 emerging technologies for 2013, World Economic Forum blog, February 14, 2013

Sir Richard Branson, founder and Chairman of Virgin Group:

“Unlike today’s nuclear reactor, the IFR [integral fast reactor] can generate unlimited amounts of inexpensive clean power for hundreds of thousands of years… It provides an excellent solution for what to do with our nuclear waste because it can use our existing nuclear waste for fuel and it is significantly more proliferation-resistant than other methods of dealing with nuclear waste… The IFR is also inherently safe. In an emergency, unlike today’s reactors, it shuts down without human intervention and without requiring electric power… Hundreds of nuclear scientists believe this technology has the ability to generate carbon-free power at a cost per kW less than coal.” Richard Branson urges Obama to back next-generation nuclear technology, Mark Halper article in The Guardian quoting a letter sent to Barack Obama from Richard Branson, July 20, 2012

Stephen Tindale, former Executive Director of Greenpeace:

“The PRISM reactor offered by GE-Hitachi [is] a fourth-generation fast reactor design which can generate zero-carbon power by consuming our plutonium and spent fuel stockpiles, thereby tackling both the nuclear waste and climate problems simultaneously; it is currently under consideration by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as a promising alternative to Areva’s MOX fuel for plutonium management.” A Letter to David Cameron, co-signed by George Monbiot, Fred Pearce, Michael Hanlon and Mark Lynas, March 15, 2012

Mark Lynas, environmentalist and writer:

“The most compelling reason to look seriously at the PRISM is that it can burn all the long-lived actinides in spent nuclear fuel, leaving only fission products with a roughly 300-year radioactive lifetime. This puts a very different spin on the eventual need for a geological repository.” UK moves a step closer to nuclear waste solution, Mark Lynas blog, March 1, 2012

Fred Pearce, environmental journalist:

“The PRISM fast reactor is attracting friends among environmentalists formerly opposed to nuclear power… Only fast reactors can consume the plutonium. Many think that will ultimately be the UK choice. If so, the PRISM plant would take five years to license, five years to build, and could destroy probably the world’s most dangerous stockpile of plutonium by the end of the 2020s.” Are fast-breeder reactors the answer to our nuclear waste nightmare? Guardian Environment Network article, July 30, 2012

Professor Tim Abram, Professor of Nuclear Fuel Technology, University of Manchester:

“As one of the U.K.’s leading research universities, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has looked to The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute to provide expert knowledge and experience to the potential U.K. application of a PRISM reactor… PRISM has the potential to offer an attractive solution to the disposition of civil plutonium and we look forward to working with GEH as they progress with their proposals to deploy PRISM in the U.K.” GE Hitachi signs MOU with University of Manchester for Work on PRISM Reactor, Nuclear Street, May 29, 2012

Councillor Elaine Woodburn, Leader of Copeland Council:

“We have known for a long time that re-use of plutonium could hold the key to future nuclear development in West Cumbria. Prism seems to tick the boxes. It’s well known we have been campaigning for a second Sellafield MOX plant but if the global market demand doesn’t exist for MOX then this could be the next best option in terms of safeguarding highly skilled well-paid jobs in Copeland.” High hopes for world’s first PRISM fast reactor at Sellafield, The Whitehaven News, July 12, 2012

Lord Avebury, Liberal Democrat Peer:

“The final candidate [in the NDA credible options assessment] is GE/Hitachi’s PRISM reactor, which uses plutonium in metallic form, avoiding the necessity for an oxide plant. It can be adapted to recycle spent elements from other reactors, turning nuclear waste from a liability into an asset. The private funding model GE/Hitachi is offering could shift the risk from the UK taxpayer to the contractor with the cost being recovered from sales of electricity.” Managing our nuclear legacy: the £67.5 billion question for Ed Davey, Lord Avebury blog for Lib Dem Voice, March 11, 2013