The newest options and plans for the government's plutonium disposition program - including the role of Savannah River Site - will be revealed during a public meeting today at the North Augusta Municipal Center.
The meeting, held by the U.S. Department of Energy, will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will focus on the most recent environmental impact studies related to the $4.8 billion mixed oxide plant under construction at SRS.
The MOX program, administered by the National Nuclear Security Administration, is part of an effort to dispose of 34 metric tons of plutonium – enough for about 17,000 nuclear bombs – by rendering it permanently inaccessible for use in weapons.
The plant will blend small amounts of plutonium with uranium to make fuel rods suitable for use in commercial reactors. The
government’s main potential client, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has not made a formal decision on using the fuel.
According to the draft impact statement, the TVA might use MOX fuel in as many as five reactors at its Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear plants but does not yet have a “preferred alternative” on how to proceed.
The MOX fuel will be made from the purest “weapons-grade” plutonium, but the government has about 13 metric tons of other plutonium that is not suitable for processing at the MOX plant.
One plan calls for sending the material to the government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, where it would be permanently buried.