are required to establish security plans and systems to prevent theft, diversion, or radiological sabotage of HEU. Security guidelines are established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, 1999) and promulgated in part or in whole in regulations by national authorities. In the United States, for example, civilian facilities possessing formula quantities of special nuclear materials fall under the authority of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and must meet the requirements in Title 10, Part 73 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 73) entitled Physical Protection of Plants and Materials and also 10 CFR Part 74 entitled Material Control and Accounting of Special Nuclear Materials. The regulations require that each facility have access controls, physical barriers, armed guards, and material inventory systems to secure special nuclear materials. These security systems are costly, and so the committee hypothesized that substantial cost savings might be realized by converting to LEU-based production because LEU does not fall under the same formula quantity requirements.

After visiting HEU and LEU production and potential production facilities2 and discussing security requirements with facility staff and national regulators, the committee concluded that the cost savings from conversion of existing HEU-based production to LEU-based production would likely be small,3 primarily for the following reasons:

  1. Many Mo-99 producers utilize facilities that are located on multipurpose sites. These sites are required to have high security because they contain sensitive facilities or store HEU. For example, the Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL) Chalk River site in Ontario, Canada, has HEU spent fuel and HEU waste from the past production of Mo-99. The ANSTO site in Australia has HEU fuel onsite from a shutdown reactor. High security will be required as long as this HEU remains on site.

  2. Current HEU-based producers may possess less than formula quantities of HEU at their facilities or are exempt from the security regulations that govern formula quantities.4 HEU is shipped to the target manufacturers

2

Small groups of committee members and staff visited major HEU-based production facilities in Canada (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited [AECL]), Belgium (Institut National des Radioéléments), and the Netherlands (Petten); LEU-based production facilities in Australia (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [ANSTO]]) and Argentina (Comisión Nactional de Energía Atómica [CNEA]); one potential domestic production facility in Missouri (Missouri University Research Reactor [MURR]); and a fuel manufacturing facility in France (Compagnie pour l’ Etude et la Réalisation de Combustibles Atomiques [CERCA]). See Appendix C.

3

This discussion does not address the nonproliferation benefits of civilian HEU elimination, which was the primary motivation behind the Schumer Amendment (see Sidebar 1.3). See Chapter 11 for a discussion of HEU minimization efforts.

4

For example, 10 CFR Part 73, which regulates facilities that contain formula quantities of HEU (Category 1 facilities) does not apply to research reactor facilities in the United States (e.g., MURR) even if they possess quantities of HEU greater than formula quantities.



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