Simulator to assess the cost of MOX

7 December 2009

A UK firm has developed a new economic simulator to assess the cost of producing plutonium/uranium mixed oxide fuel (MOX). MOXSIM has been developed as a research tool to help governments, regulators, policy-makers, energy utilities and environmental organisations to explore the economic conditions necessary to make MOX nuclear fuel plants work more efficiently and cost-effectively.

MOXSIM is an economic simulation of MOX nuclear fuel production plants used for converting unwanted plutonium from reprocessed spent nuclear fuel, existing governmental plutonium stockpiles and decommissioned military nuclear warheads. By switching from enriched uranium fuel to plutonium MOX fuel, nuclear power stations can destroy more plutonium than they produce, helping to make the world safer and more secure.

Nuclear consultant Ian Jackson says "The growth of nuclear energy in future decades means that many more countries will produce plutonium as a waste by-product from their nuclear power stations. To help stop nuclear weapons proliferation it is possible to recycle this unwanted reactor plutonium into fresh MOX nuclear fuel. MOXSIM explores the economic conditions needed to make this happen".

Developed by Jackson Consulting, MOXSIM is based on real-world manufacturing experience with MOX nuclear plants already operating in Britain and Europe. As well as commercial nuclear fuel use, MOXSIM can rapidly test different liability reduction scenarios for plutonium disposition by governments and various MOX fuel credit scenarios for utilities.

MOXSIM allows users to easily explore thousands of possible 'what-if' scenarios and is fully interactive. Using MOXSIM it is easy to visualise and explore complex changes in plutonium base case scenarios and MOX fuel price forecasting assumptions. MOXSIM understands how costs and profits behave under a wide range of different operational circumstances. And most importantly how a nuclear plant business case responds to changes in key variables that will determine the overall economic success of a MOX plant design.

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