The DOE is set to issue a contract to an international consortium to burn MOX fuel at six US NPPs to help dispose of 36 tons of plutonium from Cold War weapons programmes.
The consortium includes Cogema, Duke Power and Virginia Power. Cogema would build and run a MOX processing plant at the DOE’s Savannah River weapons complex in South Carolina. The fuel would then be burned at plants owned by the two utilities.
The nuclear plants include Duke Power’s McGuire 1 and 2 in North Carolina, Duke Power’s Catawba 1 and 2 in South Carolina, and Virginia Power’s North Anna 1 and 2 in Virginia. They are all PWRs.
The DOE rejected a charge by the Nuclear Control Institute, a critical group, that use of MOX fuel would result in twice as many cancer deaths in the event of a severe accident than if conventional, low-enriched uranium were used. The DOE noted that the Pu disposal plan has been endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences.