US radioactive waste exchange branded 'nuclear ping-pong'
Around 700kgs of highly-enriched uranium will be sent across the Atlantic from Scotland.
The UK Government has been accused of playing “nuclear ping-pong” after revealing plans to ship radioactive waste to the US.
Around 700kgs of highly-enriched uranium will be sent across the Atlantic from the former Dounreay Nuclear Power Plant in Caithness, the largest-ever shipment of radioactive waste from the UK.
Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to set out the plans at the International Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on Thursday.
As part of the deal, a shipment of American uranium will be sent to the European atomic agency to be converted into medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer.
But Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Only the nuclear industry could think it was a good idea to risk playing ping-pong with large quantities of one of the most dangerous materials on the planet across the Atlantic.
“Europe is littered with plenty of highly radioactive waste from both reactors and weapons, there cannot possibly be a need to be importing any more from the US, nor for us to be sending ours to them.
“Nuclear waste should be dealt with as close to where it is produced as possible rather than risking transporting it in ships or planes. This waste will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The consequences of an accident during transit would be horrific."
The US uranium will be processed in France for use in hospitals across Europe.
A government source described the situation as a “win-win”, adding: “We get rid of waste and we get back something that will help us to fight cancer."