A decision on what to do with about 30 tonnes of fuel – half of it irradiated -at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site at Dounreay in northern Scotland will be postponed for several months for an environmental audit.
The UKAEA had expected to recommend one of three courses of action – reprocessing at Dounreay, interim storage on site or reprocessing at Sellafield – in the first part of the year.
However, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has asked the authority for the best practicable environmental option, considering the detailed impact of all three proposals. This will not be finished until the autumn.
A spokeswoman said the delay would not cause operational difficulties.