JNFL joins GNEP consortium

30 March 2007

Japan Nuclear Fuels (JNFL) has joined an otherwise US-based consortium bidding for key contracts in the US Department of Energy's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).

JNFL have joined Washington Group, BWXT Technologies and Areva Inc. to form a "collaboration" which "fully endorses" GNEP.

The group will bid for contracts connected with key facilities to the GNEP programme, which would see used nuclear fuel recycled in the USA for the first time since 1977 while highly radioactive actinides removed from the used fuel would be destroyed in so-called 'burner reactors'.

DoE is preparing to put out tenders aiming to develop the first two such facilities: a Nuclear Fuel Recycling Centre (NFRC) to handle up to 2000 tHM per year and an Advanced Burner Reactor. The group is interested in the design, construction and operation of the NFRC. Preliminary siting studies underway in ten prospective locations for the plants.

Ultimately, GNEP would see nuclear fuel manufacture faclitiesconsolidated in a few 'fuel cycle nations' comprehensive assurance ofsupply would be made to all other nations abiding by InternationalAtomic Energy Agency non-proliferation rules. By leading this programm,the American leaders hope to spread the use of civilian nucleartechnology while eliminating possible routes to nuclear weaponsproduction.

A statement by the group said "This recycling initiative will make nuclear energy a truly sustainable energy resource."

JNFL cooperated with Areva, Areva Inc.'s French parent company to develop the Rokkasho used nuclear fuel recycling facility, currently under commissioning. It also plans to establish a mixed-oxide fuel fabrication plant at the site to recombine uranium and plutonium oxides recovered from used fuel into fresh fuel.

Further information

Areva Inc.
BWXT Technologies
Japan Nuclear Fuels
Washington Group

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