In December 2010, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER) for review of the application to possess and use radioactive material at the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) under construction at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.
The release of the FSER signifies that the proven technology in use at Areva Inc.’s MELOX and La Hague facilities in France has been successfully adapted to meet rigorous NRC safety requirements.
“With the issuance of this report, the NRC is formally acknowledging that Areva’s proven technology which has been in use for nearly 30 years meets U.S. regulatory requirements,” said David Jones, senior vice president of the back-end business group at Areva. “This is a significant licensing milestone for the project.”
The MFFF will be a major component in the United States’ program to dispose of surplus weapon-grade plutonium. The facility will take surplus weapon-grade plutonium, remove impurities and then mix it with uranium oxide to form MOX fuel pellets for reactor fuel assemblies to be used in U.S. nuclear power plants.
The facility is expected to begin operations in 2016 and is being built by Shaw Areva MOX Services LLC, which is composed of Areva and Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Shaw Group.