AREVA announced today that Shaw AREVA MOX Services, LLC and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have signed an agreement implementing construction of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site, located in Aiken, South Carolina. Through this agreement, valued at nearly $2.7 billion, the DOE is exercising the construction option that was included in the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility contract signed in 1999. The agreement's scope includes the actual construction of the main MOX facility and all support facilities; cold start-up of the MOX plant; and continued support of Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing activities associated with the project.
The facility will remove impurities from surplus weapon-grade plutonium and mix it with uranium oxide to form MOX fuel pellets for reactor fuel assemblies. The assemblies will then be used in commercial nuclear power reactors. The design of the 600,000-square-foot facility is based on AREVA's La Hague and Melox fuel treatment facilities in France.
Construction activities began on August 1, 2007, and continue to proceed on schedule.
Michael A. McMurphy, president and CEO of AREVA Inc., said, "We are proud to sign this agreement with the Department of Energy for the MOX facility, which will be the keystone of one of the most important nonproliferation programs currently underway in the world. Through this program, the Shaw-AREVA team is helping the United States achieve the disposition of 34 metric tons of surplus weapon-grade plutonium by converting it into fuel that will be used to generate electricity."