Support builds for Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility project

AREVA, Inc., said recently that plans for the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, or MOX Project, has the support of three senior leaders of an international nonproliferation initiative.

The report said the MOX facility, currently under construction in South Carolina, would be beneficial in meeting goals of the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) between the U.S. and Russia. Currently, Russia is burning excess plutonium with oxygen with a mixed-oxide fuel.

The U.S. nonproliferation effort's supporters are Bill Richardson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) and former Secretary of Energy and former U.S. Sens. Richard Luger (R-IN) and Slade Gorton (R-WA).

Regarding the PMDA, the Department of Energy (DOE) has considered alternative methods to store plutonium materials.

AREVA said the MOX facility would better serve the PMDA agreement because it changes the chemical structure of plutonium and would not be usable in weapons.

Richardson stressed the importance of keeping the PMDA intact in a letter to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

“There is tension in the U.S.-Russian relationship, and we don’t need to add more by jeopardizing the plutonium agreement, which is working well,” Richardson said. “Russia is keeping its side of the plutonium agreement, and we need to keep our side of it.”

The MOX facility is approximately 70 percent completed.

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