Japanese earthquake forces plant closure at Sellafield
A nuclear plant at controversial Sellafield, which employs 800 workers, is to close.
The MOX plant takes plutonium, which has been reprocessed from spent nuclear fuel at Sellafield's Thorp plant, and recycles it into mixed oxide fuel.
The union said the closure decision was thought to have been influenced by the lack of funding available from Japanese government contracts, following the earthquake and tsunami which shut down the Fukushima 1 nuclear reactor in March.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said that since securing new commercial arrangements for the MOX plant in April 2010, it had monitored progress to ensure that operations continued to improve and were delivering value for money.
"A key objective for the NDA is to manage its commercial operations, so as to ensure that the costs of delivering our mission to the UK taxpayer are kept to the minimum.
"Working with Japanese customers, the NDA has been reviewing the future of SMP in the light of the impact on the Japanese nuclear industry of the tragic earthquake in March and the likely effect on the SMP programme and associated commercial arrangements.
"The NDA board has now assessed the changed risk profile for SMP arising from potential delays following the earthquake in Japan and subsequent events and has concluded that in order to ensure that the UK taxpayer does not carry a future financial burden from SMP that the only reasonable course of action is to close SMP at the earliest practical opportunity.