MOX Fuel Fabrication
The MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant is positioned as an important facility for plutonium recycling.
MOX fuel is manufactured from uranium plutonium mixed oxide produced by reprocessing. The capacity of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant is on a scale to match with the amount of MOX products that go through reprocessing at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant. In this way, all of the recovered plutonium will be surely consumed under the plutonium utilization program.
MOX fuel was first used in a thermal reactor in 1963. Since the 1980s, about 2,000 tons of MOX fuel has been fabricated and loaded into reactors (mostly PWR) for commercial use in Europe.
MOX fuel consists of about 7 to 10% plutonium mixed with reprocessed uranium, assuming that the plutonium has about two thirds fissile isotopes. Energy of MOX fuel is equivalent to 4% U-235 enriched uranium oxide fuel. The plutonium content of MOX fuel produced in JNFL’s MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant varies from around 4 to 9% depending on the design of the fuel.
The MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant properly maintains necessary measures for Safety, Safeguards and Security.
Safety measures at the MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant
MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant, where safety will be given top priority, rigorous critical safety controls will be implemented. For instance, the dry process will be adopted for the production process from MOX powder to fuel assembly. Other major measures to assure safety are as follows:
- "Mass control" to keep nuclear fuel substances within the specified level
- "Shape/dimension control" to keep the containers for MOX fuel in the specified shape and dimensions
- "Neutron absorbent control" to remove fissionable neutrons by the use of boron, which absorbs neutrons
These measures will be appropriately combined to realize the highest possible safety level. In addition, JNFL will introduce the same safety measures as those already implemented in our other businesses.