THE MOX FUEL FABRICATION FACILITY PROCESS
The MOX Process is a mechanical process for transforming plutonium (Pu) from nuclear weapons into a mixed-oxide fuel
similar to the uranium used in commercial power generating reactors throughout the world. Powdered plutonium and uranium oxide are mixed into a
precise blend and pressed into a pellet about the size of a pencil eraser. The MOX facility, once it is running at full capacity, will produce
upward of 50,000 to 70,000 pellets each day, each of which will be inspected to verify dimensions, density, markings, and appearance.
Approximately 300-350 of these pellets are arranged and inserted into a zirconium alloy tube: the fuel rod. The new
fuel rod, in turn, is combined with 263 other rods and arranged into a fuel assembly, in a 17x17 array, about 13 feet long and weighing 1,500 pounds.
These arrangements can be altered to meet the specifications of pressurized water reactors, boiling water reactors, and soon, new generations and
designs of reactors.
For a video of the MOX Process click here.
MOX PROJECT OPERATIONS AT COMPLETION: BY THE NUMBERS
Once the MOX facility is complete, it will
- Fabricate both Pressurized Water Reactor and Boiling Water Reactor fuel assemblies
- Process 70 tons of heavy metal (Pu and U) per year
- Produce 167 Pressurized Water Reactor fuel assemblies per year
- Convert 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium, sufficient for approximately 8,500 nuclear weapons, and make approximately 1,870
Pressurized Water Reactor fuel assemblies
- Produce enough fuel assemblies to supply MOX fuel to six to seven Pressure Water Reactors
- Produce roughly 50,000 - 70,000 fuel pellets per day with between 300 and 350 pellets per fuel rod, depending on the fuel design
- Be constructed of:
- ≈ 129,974 cubic meters of concrete
- ≈ 31,751,475 kilograms of reinforcing steel
- ≈ 136 kilometers of process piping
- ≈ 907,185 kilograms of HVAC duct work
- OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) STAR certified for four consecutive years
- No environmental permit violations since start of construction (50 active permits)
- South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (SCDHEC) awarded membership to MOX
for the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program
- Two LEED Gold certified buildings on project
- Some electricity to MFFF provided by the AMERESCO biomass plant via the Pu Disposition electrical substation