An application to construct a $400 million MOX fuel fabrication facility at the DoE’s Savannah River site in South Carolina was filed with the NRC in early March.
DoE plans to construct the MOX facility through a contract with an international consortium of Duke Engineering & Services, Cogema, and Stone & Webster. The consortium is known as DCS. If NRC grants the licence, DCS would build and operate the facility to convert surplus weapons-grade plutonium oxide, supplied by the DoE, into fuel for use in US commercial reactors.
The programme is part of the DoE’s programme to dispose of excess weapons-grade plutonium left over from the Cold War by converting it into MOX fuel and burning it.
The MOX fuel would be burned in a once-through process, to render it essentially inaccessible and unattractive for weapons use.
DoE plans an initial review of the licence application to ensure it is complete, then begin a more detailed technical review in about a month.