The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has initiated construction of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River site near Aiken, South Carolina. The new facility, to be constructed by NNSA’s contractor Shaw Areva MOX Services, is being built to convert a minimum of 34 tonnes of surplus US weapons grade plutonium. The fuel will be used in commercial nuclear reactors in North Carolina and South Carolina.

“The start of construction of the U.S. MOX facility helps us fulfill an international non-proliferation agreement and marks a major step forward in our efforts with Russia to dispose of surplus weapon-grade plutonium so that it can never be used again for nuclear weapons” said NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Non-proliferation, William Tobey. Under the agreement, the US and Russia each committed to dispose of 34 tonnes of surplus weapons grade plutonium.