Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel (Updated June 2017)
-Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel provides about 2% of the new nuclear fuel used today.
-MOX fuel is manufactured from plutonium recovered from used reactor fuel.
-MOX fuel also provides a means of burning weapons-grade plutonium (from military sources) to produce electricity…>>
-MOX fuel was first used in a thermal reactor in 1963, but did not come into commercial use until the 1980s. So far about 2000 tonnes of MOX fuel has been fabricated and loaded into power reactors. In 2006 about 180 tonnes of MOX fuel was loaded into over 30 reactors (mostly PWR) in Europe.
Today MOX is widely used in Europe and in Japan. Currently about 40,…>>
-Two plants currently produce commercial quantities of MOX fuel – in France and UK. In 2006,…>>
MOX and Disposition of Weapons Plutonium-
-Under the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, Russia and the USA agreed in 2000 to each dispose of (or immobilise) 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium deemed surplus to requirements (see page on Military Warheads as a Source of Nuclear Fuel)… >>
MOX Reprocessing and Further Use
-Used MOX fuel reprocessing has been demonstrated since 1992 in France, at the La Hague plant. In 2004 the first reprocessing of used MOX fuel was undertaken on a larger scale with continuous process. Ten tonnes of MOX irradiated to about 35,000 MWd/t and with Pu content of about 4% was involved. The main problem,…>>
-Since the early 1990s Russia has had a programme to develop a thorium-uranium fuel, which more recently has moved to have a particular emphasis on utilisation of weapons-grade plutonium in a thorium-plutonium fuel. The programme is described in the information page on Thorium. With an estimated 150 tonnes of surplus weapons plutonium in Russia, the thorium-plutonium project would not necessarily cut across existing plans to make MOX fuel…>> world-nuclear.org