U.K. study finds MOX fuel viable in NuScale's SMR cores

The National Nuclear Laboratory of the U.K. (NNL) completed a study of how well NuScale Power's Small Modular Reactors (SMR) can process and utilize mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel, the company said this week.

The NNL said the SMR core was able to process the MOX fuel and indicated that it would not have a significant impact on the operation or design of nuclear reactors. The study also said a 12-module NuScale plant with 100 percent MOX cores could consume a 100 metric-ton stockpile of       plutonium in approxmately 40 years and generate approximately 200 million megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity.

"This is an important step in the continued development of additional flexibility of the NuScale Power Module to operate on various fuel forms,” NuScale CEO John Hopkins said. “This capability will help support the continued establishment of the NuScale Small Modular Reactor as the technology of choice for commercialization in worldwide markets."

MOX fuel is used in nuclear power plants in Belgium, France, Japan, Switzerland and Germany. The company said using plutonium in MOX fuel also degrades isotopes in a way that invalidates the material's weapons-grade value while helping to provide energy, and it also reduces the demand for enriched uranium.


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