Approval for MOX use at Borssele

06 July 2011

Dutch utility EPZ has received permission from the government to use mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel at the Borssele nuclear power plant. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation informed EPZ of its decision to approve its fuel diversification plan in a letter dated 27 June. A draft of the permit will be available for inspection by interested parties until 11 August. If no appeals have been lodged with the Administrative Law Division of the State Council by that date, the permit takes effect. EPZ submitted its application in May 2008 to use MOX (with 5.4% fissile plutonium content) as 40% of the fuel load. At that time, the company said that the use of MOX fuel would reduce its dependency on the volatile natural uranium market. As part of its fuel diversification plan for Borssele, EPZ also plans to "improve its use of recycled uranium," which it has been loading into Borssele for the past few years. The company aims to replace 4.4% enriched fuel with compensated enriched reprocessed uranium (c-ERU) which will be 4.6% enriched to compensate for U-236 content. Used nuclear fuel from Borssele has been recycled at Areva's La Hague facility in France, and a contract exists to continue this until 2015.