Secretary of State for Trade and Industry clarifies civil-military mix
of plutonium of various origins and destinations
Official Report, Hansard, 24 May 2000, column 509
Trade and Industry, Plutonium Exports
ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what were the (a)
origin of the reactor, (b) isotopic composition, (c) point of departure,
(d) mode of transport and (e) final end-use of the United Kingdom plutonium
exported to the United States of America between 1970 and 1988 in (i)
the form of fuel elements and (ii) other forms. 
the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority or BNFL export United Kingdom
plutonium under civil arrangements they keep certain records. These
records include the total amount of plutonium exported and the United
Kingdom owner of the plutonium. They do not include details of the particular
reactor in which the plutonium was produced. This reflects the fact
that spent fuel from different UK civil reactors and belonging to different
owners may be reprocessed at the same time and that the plutonium arising
from reprocessing ceases to have a separate reactor-specific identity.
Plutonium is attributed to an owner based on an estimate of the fissile
content of the irradiated fuel originally supplied, usually on an annual
basis. The specific plutonium atoms allocated to an owner are not necessarily
the same atoms that the owner originally supplied.
exports of United Kingdom plutonium to the United States under civil
arrangements have been subject to relevant bilateral and international
arrangements to ensure that the material exported is used exclusively
for peaceful, non-explosive purposes. The precise end use to which such
exported plutonium has been put is however, a matter for the United
relating to the isotopic composition, point of departure and the mode
of transport used for each export is not readily available and could
be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Export of United
Kingdom plutonium to the United States under non-civil arrangements
are a matter for the Ministry of Defence.