Bethesda, Md., February 18, 2011 — Areva signed a letter of intent with the Tennessee Valley Authority expressing the mutual desire to begin discussions concerning the potential use of mixed-oxide fuel in TVA’s nuclear power plants.
The fuel would come from the Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility now under construction at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
Using MOX fuel produced from surplus weapons material in a reactor renders the plutonium unsuitable as a nuclear weapon.
Through its global organization, Areva has provided MOX fuel for 40 operating commercial reactors in five countries. The company has nearly 40 years experience recycling used fuel containing plutonium in the manufacturing of MOX fuel.
“As the world leader in MOX fuel production, Areva has a long, successful history of producing reliable mixed-oxide fuel in Europe and has many satisfied customers around the globe. We look forward to partnering with TVA as it evaluates the potential use of MOX fuel in its nuclear plants,” said Jacques Besnainou, CEO of AREVA North America.
The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration contracted with Shaw Areva MOX Services, LLC (MOX Services) to build and operate the Mixed-oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. The facility will convert surplus weapons-grade plutonium into MOX fuel for use in U.S. commercial nuclear reactors. MOX Services is comprised of The Shaw Group and Areva.
Areva also signed a preliminary, non-exclusive agreement with MOX Services to market mixed-oxide fuel produced at the fuel fabrication facility using Areva components and fuel designs.
“The MOX program serves two important goals: it will support the nation’s nonproliferation efforts by disposing of excess nuclear weapons material and will provide high-quality fuel for U.S. nuclear plants,” said Besnainou. “Opening discussions with TVA is an important step forward in achieving these goals.”