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Alternatives to re-use of plutonium as MOX fuel
27 June 2012
On the 23 February 2012 the NDA announced we were seeking proposals on potential alternative approaches for managing the UK's plutonium stocks alongside providing support to the Government as it progresses its preferred policy of converting the material into Mixed Oxide fuel (MOX) for reactors.
We noted we were working with the Government to establish that re-using plutonium as MOX fuel remained the best option and had engaged several parties to provide support in this respect. We also added that we wished to assess whether any other parties were able to propose alternative credible full lifecycle management options.
By the time the deadline for expressions of interest had passed, on the 31 March 2012, we had received 4 responses.
NDA undertook initial discussions with each respondent and considered that there was merit in progressing two of the alternative proposals alongside development of reuse as MOX in Light Water Reactors. Further detailed discussions have taken place and NDA has subsequently engaged General Electric-Hitachi (GEH) and Candu to provide further information regarding their proposals.
The GEH proposal relates to a UK deployment of its PRISM reactor as part of an integral fuel fabrication/reactor plant solution for Plutonium disposition. The engagement is focused on assessing the technical and commercial credibility of the approach, noting that the technology proposed is not currently included in the NDA credible options.
The Candu proposal relates to a UK deployment of its Enhanced CANDU® 6 reactor and associated facilities to provide a solution for Plutonium disposition. The engagement is focused on assessing the commercial credibility of the approach and refreshing and refining technical studies undertaken previously, noting that the technology proposed is currently included in the NDA credible options.
It is anticipated that the work on both proposals agreed at this stage will be concluded later this year. NDA will subsequently assess the information and consider how best to proceed with alternative proposals alongside the preferred option of reuse as MOX.