Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MOX and Hearings in Chattanooga

Plutonium pacemaker battery,
circa 1974
MOX and Meetings

Today in Chattanooga, the NRC is holding hearings on the possible use of MOX (mixed-oxide) fuel in Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power plants.  MOX fuel consists of plutonium and uranium oxides.  In the Tennessee reactors, the plutonium in the fuel will come from warheads: they will be blended down to reactor fuel.  The Megatons to Megawatts program that did the same sort of thing with uranium in warheads. Similarly, using MOX fuel in power reactors will move us toward non-proliferation and sustained peace.

MOX fuels have been used all over the world, for at least twenty years. Widespread use of MOX fuels began in the 1980s: currently, thirty reactors in France are using MOX fuel (data from the World Nuclear Association).  Also, as Howard Shaffer points out, all light water reactors use MOX fuel: some plutonium is made and used within the reactor, even though the fuel started as 100% uranium.

Naturally, some people are against using MOX.

The MOX fuel hearing in Chattanooga may be contentious, and the American Nuclear Society has encouraged its local members to come to the hearing and tell the fact-based, pro-nuclear side of the story.  They will be tweeting about it using the hashtag #MOXchat.  I will be doing a lot of retweeting this evening!

More about MOX

Dan Yurman writes about the meeting and the issues at Idaho Samizdat: Calling Out Red Herrings about MOX fuel.

ANS Nuclear Cafe has a Call to Action about the meeting:

David Pointer of the ANS Public Information Committee has a post on ANS Man vs the Anti-Nuclear Zombie Plague.  Pointer is the cartoon character in the post, as well as the superhero.  I mean, when he's Pointer in the illustrations, he has his actual red mohawk hair.  When he's ANS Man, he looks more like a conventional superhero. (Pointer went to school in Tennessee).

At Atomic Insights, Rod Adams posts about Plutonium Power to the People.

There's a video about MOX fuel at the ANS Nuclear Cafe post: Dr Ivan Maldonada presents ANS comments to TVA 

Areva has been making MOX fuel for French reactors for twenty years or so.  Areva has a very informative post: Can you talk MOX? Ten things you should know about MOX Nuclear Fuel.

William Tucker at Nuclear Townhall on MOX on the Witness Stand in Chattanooga.

Happy reading!  Happy weapons-to-clean-power transformations!

Sending my support and respect to my nuclear friends in Tennessee!

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