Posts Tagged ‘Used Fuel’

January 5, 2010 | 3:23 pm

National Center for Policy Analysis Finds Nuclear Energy as Best Option for U.S. Energy Future

Construction at MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina

Construction at MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina

A recent report from the National Center for Policy Analysis examines the growing demand for U.S. energy needs and the requirements that this energy comes from a renewable or carbon-free source.  The National Center for Policy Analysis finds in its report that “to meet this growing demand nuclear energy remains one of the safest and more reliable forms of energy available—it also emits no greenhouse gases…Nuclear power is reliable, sustainable, and clean.”

“Solar and wind require backup from coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants for day-to-day baseload power or for on-demand peaking power.  By contrast, the output from nuclear power plants can be adjusted based on user demand and to keep the electricity grid at maximum efficiency.”

“An additional supply of nuclear fuel is readily available, after reprocessing, in the more-than-15,000 plutonium pits removed from dismantled U.S. nuclear weapons.”*

“An even larger fuel supply can be found in spent fuel rods from existing reactors.  Thus, recycling could provide an almost unlimited supply of nuclear fuel in the United State.  Recycling spent fuel would significantly decrease the problem of nuclear waste disposal.  Reprocessing can also be a boon to local communities and create jobs.”

Nuclear power has among the lowest CO2 emissions of all energy sources.  Paul J. Meier of the University of Wisconsin analyzed CO2 emissions from various electric power sources over their entire lifecycle…Meier found that for every gigawatt hour (one billion watt hours) of electricity generated”:
-Coal emits 1,041 tons of CO2 equivalent
-Natural gas emits 622 tons
-Solar emits 39 tons
-Hydropower emits 18 tons
And nuclear power emits only 17 tons of CO2.

Check out the entire report, Nuclear Power and the U.S. Energy Future.

*(AREVA is a partner in the construction of this plant, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility, currently being built in South Carolina to turn these warheads into fuel for a reliable power supply.)

November 13, 2009 | 6:12 pm

Response to Friends of the Earth News Release on MOX Fuel

Please see below a response from a DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) spokesperson to an innaccurate and misleading new release issued yesterday by an anti-nuclear organization regarding MOX fuel and the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility under construction at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. As we have mentioned many times here, AREVA has many satisfied MOX fuel customers around the world and decades of experience in producing safe, efficient MOX fuel assemblies. Here is the NNSA statement:

“The news release issued today by Friends of the Earth is inaccurate and draws incorrect conclusions about the performance of the MOX lead test assemblies and the overall state of the Department’s mixed oxide fuel program at the Savannah River Site.  Shaw AREVA MOX Services and the National Nuclear Security Administration remain steadfast in our commitment to dispose of surplus weapons plutonium in a manner that results in the safe, affordable, and carbon-free generation of electricity for the benefit of American public.  Not only will the fuel produced at the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility produce enough energy to power one million homes for 50 years, but the disposal of weapon-grade plutonium is a key component of President Obama’s commitment to strengthening international arms control and nonproliferation programs.  In addition, the Department of Energy has evaluated numerous approaches for disposing of surplus weapon-grade plutonium and, simply put, there is no, ‘cheaper, safer and faster alternative.’  This critical project also is important for the Southeastern region of the United States, where it will create jobs and stimulate the local economy.” –NNSA Spokesperson Jennifer Wagner

July 14, 2009 | 5:41 pm

Reports on Nuclear Energy by Clean Skies

Clean Skies is a site for discussion and debate over energy and environmental policy in the U.S., including in-depth video news of important issues. As nuclear energy is a leading CO2-free energy source, the network has focused some recent pieces on key aspects of nuclear energy.

In a report from July 1st, Clean Skies News talks about the success that France has had with nuclear energy, meeting approximately 80 percent of its energy needs.

The following clip looks at another aspect of nuclear energy; the question of what to do with spent fuel in the U.S.  Here, the Clean Skies Team visits AREVA’s La Hague and MELOX recycling facilities for a report of the benefits of recycling technology.

July 13, 2009 | 5:34 pm

A Clip on Recycling

As a very important issue in nuclear energy right now- what to do with used fuel-we think this little video is appropriate for everyone who wants or needs to learn about recycling.  It actually explains AREVA’s process for recycling nuclear fuel for people who don’t have a PhD in nuclear engineering, while still mentioning how a closed fuel cycle has many potential energy saving benefits:

June 8, 2009 | 4:28 pm

New Ideas for a Better World

ted_logo1By Laura Clise

On June 3, the U.S. State Department Global Partnerships Initiative, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and TED hosted TED@State, New Ideas for a Better world. TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to the spread of attitude-changing, life-changing, and world-changing ideas. TED@State brought together a diverse and dynamic group of speakers, but better than any notes I could provide, you can check out the actual footage from each speaker’s presentation on the TED website (available soon) and or and read a summary of the presented material on the TED Blog.

While the event was personally of interest to me (I have a passion for international development and my best friend from business school is currently working as an Acumen Fellow for TED@State speaker, Jacqueline Novogratz), my professional reason for attending TED@State was directly linked to the ongoing global dialogue regarding development, energy, and climate change.

Social media analyst Clay Shirky talked about the impact of the shifting media landscape, something with which AREVA is already familiar through the AREVA Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin pages. Futurist and environmentalist Stewart Brand discussed the implications of increased urbanization and also the critical role that base-load nuclear energy must contribute to our low-carbon energy future. Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz talked about facilitating bottom up entrepreneurial solutions to poverty alleviation and noted that effective solutions start from the perspective of those her organization is trying to help. This mentality is akin to the way we develop the products and services that we offer. Economist Paul Collier talked about the importance of sustainable job creation, health, and clean government in post-conflict recovery. AREVA also believes that job creation is critical to economic vitality and will be hiring more than 700 people in North America this year. Finally, data visionary Hans Rosling provided a statistical argument for global convergence and talked as well about the importance of information and data transparency. AREVA has been committed to open communication and transparency since its inception in order to lift the veil of secrecy that used to shroud the nuclear energy industry.

The TED@State speakers articulated the complex geopolitical, social, cultural, and environmental contexts in which companies like AREVA are innovating solutions that meet the energy needs of development while at the same time taking into account implications for social and environmental impact.

April 8, 2009 | 2:38 pm

MOX Fuel Supports Environmental and National Security Goals

Mox Fuel Fabrication Facility Under Construction

Mox Fuel Fabrication Facility Under Construction

By Jarret Adams

The MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility under construction in South Carolina recently passed the milestone of 2 million work hours completed without a lost time incident. This facility is an important project because it will take weapons-grade material in our nation’s stockpiles and convert into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. Shaw AREVA MOX Services is justifiably proud to be part of this important project.

As a result, the MOX facility serves two important goals: it disposes of excess nuclear weapons material and provides nuclear plant fuel to generate electricity for Americans.

When you think about it, if the goal is to eliminate nuclear weapons from the nation’s stockpiles as President Obama stated in Prague over the weekend, a facility such as the MOX project is one of the best solutions available today.

The MOX project continues to have strong government and industry support. MOX Services received last May the option to construct the $4.86 billion facility.

AREVA has safely produced MOX fuel at its facilities in France for approximately 35 years. MOX fuel also is used by utilities in many other countries, including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. Just last week, AREVA announced a major contract to supply MOX fuel to a Japanese utility.

March 16, 2009 | 4:30 pm

Excellent Editorial from WSJ

Several of our fellow nuclear bloggers have already linked to William Tucker’s excellent editorial from the Wall Street Journal, “There Is No Such Thing as Nuclear Waste.” We thought we’d add our voice to the resounding applause for this excellent piece, which is well-written and well-argued. AREVA is proud to be leading the way in recycling and reprocessing used nuclear fuel – which is exactly what Tucker argues should be part of our long-term plans as we look to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, and promote green energy.

Some highlights from the article:

So is [defunding Yucca Mountain] really the death knell for nuclear power? Not at all. The repository at Yucca Mountain was only made necessary by our failure to understand a fundamental fact about nuclear power: There is no such thing as nuclear waste. . . .

So is this material “waste”? Absolutely not. Ninety-five percent of a spent fuel rod is plain old U-238, the nonfissionable variety that exists in granite tabletops, stone buildings and the coal burned in coal plants to generate electricity. Uranium-238 is 1% of the earth’s crust. It could be put right back in the ground where it came from.

Of the remaining 5% of a rod, one-fifth is fissionable U-235 — which can be recycled as fuel. Another one-fifth is plutonium, also recyclable as fuel. Much of the remaining three-fifths has important uses as medical and industrial isotopes. Forty percent of all medical procedures in this country now involve some form of radioactive isotope, and nuclear medicine is a $4 billion business. Unfortunately, we must import all our tracer material from Canada, because all of our isotopes have been headed for Yucca Mountain. . . .

So shed no tears for Yucca Mountain. Instead of ending the nuclear revival, it gives us the chance to correct a historical mistake and follow France’s lead in developing complete reprocessing for nuclear material.

March 6, 2009 | 1:34 pm

It’s the Right Time to Reconsider U.S. Recycling

Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain

During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing yesterday, the discussion of the future of the Yucca Mountain project raised the possibility of recycling nuclear fuel as part of the nation’s used fuel management strategy.

Recycling nuclear fuel would enable us to reduce the volume of material for disposal by a factor of at least four and reduce toxicity by a factor 10 (based on experience in France). It also turns the most difficult waste into a vitrified form (glass logs) that is more stable, durable and manageable for long-term storage in a repository. If recycled, the 60,000 metric tons of used fuel stored at nuclear plant sites could provide enough fuel to power America’s 104 nuclear reactors for seven to eight years.

If the U.S. turns to recycling we could defer having to find and build a second or third repository, perhaps forever. Recycling would postpone or eliminate the need for additional repository capacity. There’s no doubt that locating a geological repositories requires some level of acceptance by the local community. But this task would be made easier if you can limit its size and avoid having to build multiple repositories.

AREVA has recycled used fuel in France for customers in Europe and Japan for several decades and continues to do so today. This technology is safe, mature and cost effective. In the United States, we recycle glass, aluminum and paper; why not recycle nuclear fuel? In addition to the reduction in the amount of waste we must dispose, we would also conserve the amount of new uranium that we must use. Facing the expansion of nuclear energy worldwide, this is important to consider in terms of U.S. energy security as well.

In the end, we believe that recycling is just common sense.