TVA will evaluate SRS MOX fuel

 

The Tennessee Valley Authority will evaluate mixed oxide fuel to be produced at the Savannah River Site as part of the U.S. Energy Department's program to dispose of surplus, weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled warheads.

According to an interagency agreement announced today between TVA and the National Nuclear Security Administration, the fuel-to be made at the $4.86 billion plant under construction at SRS-will be evaluated to gauge its suitability for use in TVA's Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear reactors.

Previously, another power producer-Duke Energy-had signed an agreement to use MOX fuel, but the company disclosed in a Feb. 27, 2009, financial filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that it allowed its contract to lapse. Duke officials have said the company remains interested, but no additional contracts have been announced.

The construction under way at SRS involves a 600,000-square-foot MOX complex scheduled to open in 2016. Its mission will involve blending 5 percent plutonium oxide with 95 percent uranium oxide to manufacture commercial reactor fuel.

Typical fuels are usually 100 percent uranium oxide.

Converting plutonium to spent fuel is part of the nation's non-proliferation effort and mirrors a similar program to dispose of Russian surplus weapon-grade plutonium.

President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget includes $2.7 billion for nonproliferation programs with a 47 percent increase for Fissile Materials Disposition-including the MOX project at SRS.

The budget also includes a $103.9 million increase for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility, also at SRS.

Under the interagency agreement, TVA will perform work on nuclear core design, licensing, environmental and reactor modification assessments, and other related activities to evaluate the eventual use of MOX fuel in its reactors.

 

 

 

More

Savannah River Site resumes normal activity

A suspicious item was discovered Wednesday afternoon at the Savannah River National Laboratory which prompted emergency responseactivities.

... Read more