ANS Congratulates Japan on first MOX shipment
Program allows weapons-grade plutonium to be safely reused
After traveling for nearly three months, two ships arrived at the Kansai Electric Power Company in Japan with the first arrival of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has endorsed the production and use of MOX fuel to safely reuse weapons-grade plutonium, through a blend-down process, in nuclear power plants and commends the country for its first shipment.
The arrival of the fuel follows through with the commitment that the Japanese government made to the long-term use of nuclear energy. In 1997, Japan made the push to start using MOX fuel in commercial nuclear reactors, and since has seen power companies unveil plans for usage in nearly 18 reactors. While used fuel has been sent to Europe for reprocessing, Japan is working towards opening an independent MOX fabrication plant.
The American Nuclear Society recommends the rapid application of MOX fuel technology to accomplish the timely disposition of surplus weapons-grade plutonium, and sees MOX as an important part of the fuel cycle. MOX fuel has been produced in five countries and is widely used in many reactors all over the world. Many nations view MOX as an essential part of their energy and fuel cycle management policies. The use of MOX fuel in nuclear reactors consumes much of the weapons-grade plutonium and alters the isotopic makeup of the remainder so that it is essentially rendered useless for use in nuclear weapons.
ANS supports continued legislation and innovation in advancing the role of nuclear science and technology in benefiting society. Additional details on the use of MOX fuel and its benefits can be found at http://www.ans.org/pi/ps/docs/ps47-bi.pdf