Huge breakthrough for UK’s metal recycling

June 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm

The press is often keen to point out the downsides to nuclear power, and in particular to the safety of their afterlife. When a nuclear power station comes to the end of its life, usually after around 40 years, the issue of what to do with the reactors and the site as a whole, is a worry for many environmentalists. Tonnes and tonnes of concrete is often poured over the area in the hope that waste doesn’t leak or cause problems in the future. This month sees a huge step forward for this problem.

A breakthrough has occurred in Cumbria that will see old metal from nuclear power stations being diverted from scrapyards, and melted down safely and recycled into other metals for the future. The site at Lillyhall, Studsvik, has just opened its doors to nuclear contaminated metals and is the first of its kind in the UK. The £6 million venture is a huge boost for the UK’s nuclear energy ambitions, towards which Gordon Brown has fully pledged his support this year.

The benefits of the new site are huge. Recycling steel is a much more environmentally friendly solution than mining fresh iron ore. It’s also a lot less expensive. This site means that previously hard to dispose of metals, taken from nuclear sites, will be turned back into invaluable metals in a safe environment.

The site has boosted the local economy and provided excitement in the area. Its construction has provided work for hundreds of people and up to 30 new jobs will be available when the site is fully operational. There is even an educational facility incorporated in the form of a viewing platform for schools to come and watch the recycling process.

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