In an exclusive interview, Laurence Pernot explains AREVA’s role in the U.S. Department of Energy’s $4.8 billion mixed oxide plutonium-based fuel program (MOX) under construction at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, and the “Nuclear Renaissance” in the United States. Pernot is the vice president of communications at AREVA Inc., the Washington-based U.S. branch of the French nuclear giant. A French citizen, she used to work at AREVA’s La Hague site, in the North of France, which has been recycling spent nuclear fuel for decades.
Continue reading Areva in America
The multi-billion dollar Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) program, under construction at the Savannah River Site, is supposed to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. But this very generous contract in the hands of the French company AREVA remains controversial.
A few years after ratification of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the United States and Russia committed to dispose of 34 metric tons of their surplus weapons plutonium in order to reduce the threat that this material could be stolen or diverted. The countries put in place a U.S.-Russian independent and scientific commission in 1996 to propose concrete options to dispose of the plutonium. Its report published in 1997 contained a two-approach proposal: mixing the plutonium with uranium to get MOX fuel for burning in currently operating civilian nuclear power reactors and/or vitrifying the plutonium in glass logs for burial.
Continue reading Areva supplied MOX fuel to Japanese reactor, also on DOE payroll
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Okuma Photo: DigitalGlobe’s Firstwatch Imagery Report
The mixed oxide fuel rods used in the compromised number three reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi complex contain enough plutonium to threaten public health with the possibility of inhalation of airborne plutonium particles. The compromised fuel rods supplied to the Tokyo Electric Company by the French firm AREVA.
Continue reading MOX fuel rods used in Japanese Nuclear Reactor present multiple dangers
Photo: DigitalGlobe’s Natural Color Satellite Image
The threat of a fission explosion at the Fukushima power facility emerged today when the roof of the number three reactor exploded and fears that a spent fuel pool, located over the reactor, has been compromised. The pool, designed to allow reactor fuel to cool off for several years, was constructed on top of the Fukushima reactors instead of underground. As of 2010, there were 3450 fuel assemblies in the pool at the number three reactor. The destruction of the number three reactor building has experts concerned about whether the spent fuel storage pool, which sits just below the roof, could have survived intact the hydrogen explosion. The explosion was much more severe than Saturday’s blast at the number one reactor.
Continue reading Fission Criticality In Cooling Ponds Threaten Explosion At Fukushima