There has been concern raised from many involved in the nuclear industry about the future of nuclear reprocessing.
Reprocessing is a central to making nuclear power environmentally viable. It is a process that significantly increases the efficiency of nuclear power, increasing the lifespan of reactor uranium by up to 60 times. Allowing concerns raised by the House of Commons Environmental Select Committee that worldwide uranium reserves could be depleted (point 13) to be overcome. Some industry experts speculate that, given the efficiency of modern reprocessing techniques and modern reactors, the worldwide uranium supplies could for 1000's of years
Also, by extending the lifespan of uranium, the need for mining new uranium ore is diminished, thus the main source of carbon emissions in the industry is significantly reduced.
Nuclear reprocessing also allows weapons grade plutonium to be recycled and employed in generating civil power rather than creating destructive weaponry or being stockpiled.
However, given the current low price of newly mined uranium, nuclear reprocessing is in danger of being deemed economically inviable by the government. Preferring instead to further deplete uranium ore reserves.
It is my belief that nuclear is the best option to power Britain in the interim whilst renewable energy bridges the technology gap. However, for nuclear to be the right decision it must be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. Therefore. the government must affirm its commitment to reprocessing as a key component of any new nuclear build pledge.