US MOX plant construction begins

31 August 2007

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has initiated construction on the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. The facility will convert at least 34 tonnes of surplus US weapons grade plutonium.

“The start of construction of the US MOX facility helps us fulfil an international non-proliferation agreement and marks a major step forward in our efforts with Russia to dispose of surplus weapon-grade plutonium so that it can never be used again for nuclear weapons,” said NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, William Tobey. Under the agreement, the USA and Russia each committed to dispose of 34 tonnes of surplus weapons grade plutonium.

The new facility, to be constructed by NNSA’s contractor Shaw Areva MOX Services, will be used to fabricate the surplus plutonium into MOX fuel. The fuel will be used in commercial nuclear reactors in North Carolina and South Carolina.

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