Construction work at the U.S. Department of Energy’s mixed oxide fuel plant at Savannah River Site fulfilled all licensing and inspection requirements during the past 12 months, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s annual review.
“Our inspections indicated that your construction program and procedure development, along with project staffing, were sufficiently implemented to support ongoing construction activities,” NRC Construction Division Director James H. Moorman wrote in a Nov. 15 letter to Kelly Trice, the president of Shaw AREVA MOX Services, the project contractor.
The $4.8 billion facility, scheduled to open in 2016, is designed to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium by using small amounts to make fuel for commercial reactors.
Because the plant is involved in the manufacture of fuel to be used for civilian purposes, it falls under the NRC’s regulatory and licensing authority. The commission has a resident inspection team at the project that is supplemented many times a year with larger inspection teams.
The annual performance review, released this week, covers the period from Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011.
The inspections include construction work, equipment, design control, vendor oversight, software and other areas.
The MOX program is administered through the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department that manages nuclear weapons and related materials and programs.