nuclear fuel

Ship of fools sails off laden with nuclear fuel

Posted by jamie — 6 March 2009 at 1:14pm - Comments

Greenpeace volunteers protest as a container of plutonium nuclear fuel is driven past in Cherbourg, France

Mention Cherbourg and what springs to mind? Brigit Bardot skipping through the rain with a song on her lips, twirling one of those famous umbrellas? Sadly, that was all a long time ago and the quaint port of Jacques Demy's masterpiece is now a major link in the fuel chain for Japan's nuclear power stations.

Yesterday, a shipment of plutonium mixed oxide (Mox) fuel left France bound for Japan. It's the first shipment of Mox fuel to Japan in eight years, and the largest shipment of plutonium the world has ever seen - 1.8 tonnes of it in fact, enough to make 225 nuclear weapons.

Nuclear near-miss could have been a catastrophe

Last edited 11 June 2002 at 8:00am

Shipment of nuclear bomb material from Europe via Cape of Good Hope to Japan

Last edited 2 June 2000 at 8:00am
Publication date: 
31 August, 1999

On the 21st of July, two ships carrying a cargo of dangerous, weapons-usable plutonium fuel left Europe to sail around the globe, via Cape of Good Hope and the South West Pacific Ocean, to Japan. On board is nuclear fuel containing more nuclear weapons usable material than in the entire Indian and Pakistan nuclear weapons programmes.

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Conventional nuclear fuel for reactors

Last edited 28 May 2000 at 8:00am
Publication date: 
28 May, 2000

Nuclear fuel is fabricated from natural uranium imported from overseas by BNFL who operate a fuel fabrication plant at Springfields near Preston and a uranium enrichment plant at Capenhurst in Cheshire. Natural uranium is composed largely of two elements Uranium 235 (U-235) and Uranium 238 (U-238). Whilst this is suitable for making fuel for Britain's ageing Magnox reactors, it has to be enriched before it can made into fuel for the newer advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors (AGRs).

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