Candu proposes EC6 reactor as UK plutonium solution (updated)

2 July 2012

Candu Energy Inc. is studying the feasibility of building its Enhanced Candu 6 (EC6) reactor in the United Kingdom as a solution to managing the country’s plutonium stockpile. The move follows General Electric-Hitachi’s proposal for UK deployment of its PRISM reactor as part of an integral fuel fabrication/reactor plant a solution for plutonium disposition.

Candu announced, 27 June, that it has engaged with the United Kingdom's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to assist in providing alternative full lifecycle approaches for managing that country's plutonium stockpile by reusing the material as mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.

"This is a great opportunity to build on the neutron efficient fundamentals of CANDU technology which easily allows the use of alternate fuels without changing its core design," said Ala Alizadeh, Candu's senior vice president, marketing & business development.

The study will culminate this year in a report on the commercial feasibility of building EC6 reactors in the UK, burning MOX fuel and producing power for the consumer together with constructing the associated infrastructure and facilities needed to manufacture CANDU MOX fuel.

"This study re-opens the door to introduce CANDU technology," said Alizadeh. "A positive outcome of the study will allow us to re-engage with the UK regulator in licensing our evolutionary EC6." Candu will build on its earlier technical studies where MOX fuel was manufactured and tested in-core.

The NDA said in a separate statement that it had engaged both General Electric-Hitachi (GEH) and Candu to provide further information regarding their proposals. It is currently evaluating the technical and commercial feasibility of the GEH approach, which is currently not in the NDA credible options, and the commercial feasibility of the Candu technology, which is included in NDA credible options.

(Updated: The last paragraph of this article was changed to fix an error about the status of the Candu proposal.)

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