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U.S. HEU Disposition Program Robert M. George Office of Fissile Materials Disposition International Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting July 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. HEU Disposition Program Robert M. George Office of Fissile Materials Disposition International Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting July 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. HEU Disposition Program Robert M. George Office of Fissile Materials Disposition International Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting July 2009

2 2 The U.S. HEU Disposition Program NNSA’s U.S. HEU Disposition Program is a key nonproliferation program that down-blends surplus HEU and uses the derived LEU in commercial and research reactors. Commercial down-blend contractors include: –Babcock and Wilcox –Nuclear Fuel Services Nuclear fuel fabricators have also been involved in down-blending projects – AREVA and WesDyne

3 3 HEU Disposition Paths Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Uncommitted 2005 Material ~40 MT * ~10 MT UF 6 USEC Transfer Material 47 MT 14 MT TVA Off-Spec (BLEU) Material 51 MT Savannah River Site and Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. Uncom- mitted 1994 Material 16 MT17 MT Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Div. Y-12 Research Reactor Fuel Feed 6 MT Spent Fuel and Low Equity Discards 18 MT Disposal as waste NFS * This ~51 MT of HEU is part of the 200 MT additional HEU removed from use as fissile material in weapons in Fall 2005; it consists of 20 MT designated for downblending plus an estimated 31 MT (out of 160 MT) that is expected to be rejected for use by Naval Reactors. Revised 5/12/08 New 12 MT HEU Project—TBD 1994 Surplus HEU Declaration — 174 MT (156 commercially usable + 18 discards) 2005 Declaration — ~61 MT Disposition Timing Completed In progress 2009-2011 Not yet planned Discards TBD ~7 MT * ~5 MT TVA RRF Feed ~4 MT Reliable Fuel Supply

4 4 USEC HEU Transfer The USEC HEU Transfer project, mandated by the USEC Privatization Act, was completed during 2006. –The down-blending was completed at Babcock & Wilcox in Lynchburg, VA in June 2006. –A total of 46.6 MT HEU, at an average assay of 43.7%, was delivered and down-blended to make over 800 MT of commercial-grade LEU.

5 5 TVA Off-Spec “BLEU” Program DOE and TVA entered an Interagency Agreement in 2001 -With addition of EU Disposition Project material, it now covers ~45.6 MTU -TVA is using blended low-enriched uranium (BLEU) fuel in the Browns Ferry and Sequoyah Nuclear Plants. -Down-blending occurs at two facilities: -Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC – solutions, alloyed metals, oxides (~22.6 MTU) -Nuclear Fuel Services, Erwin, TN – uranium metal, alloyed metals, compounds (~ 23 MTU) -As of the end of June 2009, 38 MTU has been down-blended Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant Lead assembly being inspected at TVA’s Sequoyah Plant

6 6 TVA Off-Spec Program (Cont.) BLEU project HEU shipments were completed in 2008 40 MT Down-blending will be completed in fall of 2009 (~95% complete) Additional down-blending of EU Disposition Project material will occur in 2009 & 2010 Savings to the U.S. Treasury are expected to be over $255 million. This program has won many awards –2003 Secretary of Energy’s Project Management Award – SRS Line Item –2005 Platt’s Global Energy Engineering Project of the Year – BLEU/Off-Spec Partnership –2006 NEI Top Industry Practice (TIP) award – BLEU Project –Several Other Internal TVA Awards Broken Button

7 7 H Canyon EU Disposition Project NNSA has identified 20.8 MT of HEU that could result in up to 250 MT of additional off-spec LEU over the 2009 through 2020 time period. The HEU would be recovered and down-blended at SRS H Canyon Complex. NNSA and TVA have agreed to mutually beneficial terms to add an initial 5.6 MT of the material to the existing Interagency Agreement. Incremental additions of the remaining material into the TVA Off-Spec Fuel Project may occur as funding becomes available. Super Kukla Ring size reduction

8 8 Reliable Fuel Supply Initiative (RFS) Secretary Bodman announced the RFS initiative for foreign users who do not pursue enrichment and reprocessing at IAEA’s General Conference in September 2005. 17.4 MT of HEU will be down-blended to produce about 290 MT LEU, a substantial majority of which will be used as a stockpile for the RFS program. The RFS program will ensure that, in the event nuclear fuel is not available commercially, there will be reliable access to the market. MTR Type Fuel Element Cast Metal Slugs

9 9 RFS General Status In June 2007, NNSA awarded a downblending and storage contract to the WesDyne / NFS team. Through June 2009, NNSA has shipped over 15 MT of HEU for the RFS project. Processing of the HEU began in March 2008 and through June 2009, over 5.6 MT has been down-blended to date. The down-blending program will be completed in 2010.

10 10 12.1 MTU HEU Downblending Project HEU will be down-blended during the 2009– 2012 time period. Project will provide total derived LEU of about 220 MTU Inventory reserved for use by MOX project if needed. Down-blending and storage contract awarded June 23 to WesDyne/NFS team.

11 11 Foreign Research Reactor LEU Fuel DOE/NNSA Supplies 80% of the world’s LEU research reactor fuel with down-blended HEU Material is provided in support of the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program, which reduces civil uses of HEU worldwide. U.S. surplus HEU (10 MT) is feed material to make LEU fuel (mostly 19.75% enrichment). 2.9 MT down-blended to date Customers in Europe, Canada, Asia, South America, Australia RA-6 Reactor, Bariloche, Argentina CEA OSIRIS Reactor, France

12 12 What Does the Future Hold? The program has already committed to down- blending projects 161MT of the total 217 MT of surplus, commercially-usable HEU. The remaining 56 MT is expected to become available for down-blending from now through 2050. Future focus is: –Continue progress in down-blending HEU to meet nonproliferation objectives –Proper disposition of derived LEU in a manner that does not adversely impact the commercial nuclear fuel markets –Develop future projects from unallocated HEU inventories using a viable funding approach

13 13 HEU Deliveries for Down-blending (Actual and Projected as of March 2009)

14 14 Final thoughts Through June 2009, this program has eliminated the proliferation risk of approximately 124 MTU of HEU, which equates to approximately 2,773 nuclear warheads. Several DOE facilities have been able to eliminate or greatly reduce their holdings of HEU. The LEU derived from down-blending the U.S. HEU equates to ~1,400 MTU.

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