NuScale Power completed a study supporting the suitability of the company’s small modular reactor to effectively dispose of plutonium in the U.K.
The study commissioned by the U.K. National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) evaluated scenarios with partial and full-core loading of mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel. The study confirmed that MOX could be used in the NuScale core with minimal effect on the reactor’s design and operation. The study also demonstrated that a 12-module NuScale plant with 100 percent MOX cores could consume a 100 metric-ton stockpile of discharged plutonium in about 40 years, generating approximately 200 million megawatt-hours of electricity.
The NuScale Power Module is a technology with the potential to be fueled by either conventional light water reactor fuel or MOX fuel. More than 100 metric tons of civil plutonium is managed at the Sellafield site in northwest England, but the U.K. government has been looking for ways to either dispose of or reuse it.
Another option under consideration is Areva's Convert proposal, which would reprocess the UK’s stockpile of plutonium into MOX fuel using technology proven over 40 years in France. Areva signed a contract in December 2015 to manufacture conventional fuel assemblies for the NuScale Power Module and provide a variety of engineering and testing services associated with the NuScale design.
"Areva welcomes the study results from the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) supporting the suitability of NuScale's Small Modular Reactor technology for the effective disposition of plitonium," Areva said in a statement. "This is further evidence that Areva's Convert proposal, whidch would reprocess the UK's stockpile ofplutonium into MOX fuel, is an advantageous solution to address the UK plutonium stockpile, a subject currently being examined by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority."
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