Therefore, in comparing the economics of burning MOX using W-Pu with all-LEU fuel, one might assume that the cost of MOX is based on free plutonium, but it includes the cost of producing plutonium oxide
, fabricating MOX fuel, licensing and modifying the reactors to burn MOX, operating the reactors securely and safely using MOX, and, finally, disposing of the spent material.
First, plutonium oxide
could be mixed with uranium and used to fuel commercial nuclear reactors.
MOX fuel is a blend of about 95 percent uranium oxide (conventional nuclear fuel) and about 5 percent plutonium oxide
The report found there was a "lack of safety culture" at Sellafield and revealed there had been widespread falsification of safety data on mixed uranium and plutonium oxide
fuel delivered to Japan's Kansai Electric.
The electric utilities envisage using plutonium at nuclear reactors for the plutonium-thermal power generation method in which mixed uranium and plutonium oxide
fuel, or MOX fuel, is burned.
Waste materials from the Rocky Flats site that are contaminated with plutonium oxide
and americium oxide were also disposed of in the SDA in Idaho.
Power companies in Japan are planning to use plutonium reprocessed from spent fuel at nuclear reactors for plutonium-thermal power generation, or what they call the pluthermal method, that burns mixed uranium and plutonium oxide
fuel, or MOX fuel.
The resulting plutonium oxide
is unclassified and, therefore, can be placed under international safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The plutonium left over from the reprocessing will be converted into a new MOX fuel - a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides
- which will be transported back to Japan.