TVA to evaluate MOX use at two plants

1 March 2010

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has signed an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to evaluate the use of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel made from US surplus weapons plutonium in TVA’s Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear power reactors.

Converting the plutonium to spent fuel is an essential step in U.S. efforts to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium withdrawn from the nuclear weapons programme. The US programme is complemented by parallel efforts to dispose of an equal quantity of Russian surplus weapon-grade plutonium.

“The MOX programme is an important example of this Administration’s commitment to irreversibly disposing of surplus nuclear weapons material in a way that realizes the energy value of the material and advances our nuclear nonproliferation agenda,” said NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Ken Baker. “This agreement is an important step in evaluating the use of MOX fuel in domestic nuclear reactors, and we look forward to working with the TVA as we move forward.”

The MOX fuel will be produced at the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility, currently under construction at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. Under the interagency agreement, TVA will perform work on nuclear core design, licensing, environmental and reactor modification assessments, and other related activities to evaluate the use of MOX fuel in its reactors.

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