29 JULY 1989, Page 26

Sir: You say in your leader article of 15 July

that the costs being charged by British Nuclear Fuels for reprocessing 'have multi- plied, with enormous overruns both of timing and capital requirements'. The facts do not support this claim.

The cost of the plant being built to carry out reprocessing has increased by £200 million from an original estimate of £1,280 million. Does this really justify your dramatic description?

The principal reason, incidentally, was higher than projected escalation of costs of plant materials. At the same time as the cost has gone up, the anticipated through- put of the plant has increased by almost precisely the same percentage — from 6,000 tonnes of spent fuel over 10 years' operations to 7,000 tonnes. Overseas order for this business are worth £3,000 million. Your headline was `Nuclear waste of money'. Our customers don't think so.

D. K. R. Phillips

Chief press officer, British Nuclear Fuels, Risley, Warrington, Cheshire