Final Safety Evaluation Report on the Construction Authorization Request for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina (NUREG-1821)
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Manuscript Completed: March 2005
Date Published: March 2005
Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
On February 28, 2001, Duke COGEMA Stone & Webster (DCS or the applicant), a limited liability company, submitted a request to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to construct a Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF or the facility) on the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. DCS is a DOE contractor. If its construction authorization request (CAR), as revised, is approved, DCS is expected to then submit a license application for authority to possess and use licensed material at the MFFF. Following an acceptance review of such an application, a notice of opportunity for hearing would be published in the Federal Register. In support of its revised CAR, DCS has submitted several items to the NRC, including a quality assurance plan and an environmental report.
Under the applicable requirements of Title 10, Part 70, “Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear Material,” of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 70), before a possession and use license may be issued, the NRC must first authorize construction of the facility. This final safety evaluation report (FSER) documents the NRC staff's review of the revised CAR and supplemental supporting information provided by the applicant. This FSER pertains only to approval of construction and does not address operational aspects of the MFFF.
If the MFFF is eventually authorized to operate, it would be a key asset of the DOE Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program (SPDP), which is being implemented as a result of a bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation. Pursuant to this agreement, the United States and the Russian Federation would each convert 34 metric tons (37.5 tons) of weapons-grade plutonium that has been declared excess to national security needs into forms less usable in nuclear weapons. As part of the SPDP, surplus U.S. weapons-grade plutonium would be converted into MOX fuel and irradiated in commercial reactors to produce electricity. Following irradiation, the resulting spent fuel would contain plutonium in a form less usable in nuclear weapons.