Plutonium disposition program moves forward in the United States
May 25, 2005
- Lead fuel assemblies delivered to a commercial reactor
- Construction of the future MOX facility authorized
May 25, 2005
Duke Power has announced that the four mixed oxide (MOX) fuel lead assemblies fabricated in France by AREVA from American excess weapon-grade plutonium were delivered for use at the Catawba nuclear power plant.
This announcement represents another step towards the successful implementation of the plutonium disposition program led by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
On March 30, 2005, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced it had authorized the construction of the MOX fuel fabrication facility that will handle future conversion of surplus plutonium from U.S. Defense programs.
This project is considered by the U.S. DOE as "the largest nonproliferation program in history". The United States and Russia signed a bilateral agreement in September 2000 under which each country agrees to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapon-grade plutonium. In 2002, the U.S. DOE opted to dispose of its 34 metric tons in the form of MOX fuel. The plutonium will be converted into fuel and "burned" in civilian nuclear reactors operated by Duke Power. The U.S. government chose the DUKE COGEMA (*) STONE & WEBSTER (DCS) team to build the MOX fuel fabrication facility at the Savannah River site in South Carolina. The facility will be owned by the DOE and operated by DCS.
(*) COGEMA is a subsidiary of the AREVA group.