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Appendix B Profiles of Civilian Plutonium Programs This appendix contains brief descriptions of the current status of the civil- ian plutonium programs of six major nations-Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan, Russia, and the United States.i Programs in several of these countries are changing rapidly, as policies face legal and political challenges. The infor- mation contained here reflects the situation as it stood in the fall of 1993. GREAT BRITAIN Great Britain has 37 operating nuclear power reactors that generate 23 percent of its electricity (12,066 megawatts-electnc; MWe). One reactor, which will provide an additional 1,188 MWe, is under construction.2 Basic Policy and Spent Fuel Management Plans. Great Britain has a mixed strategy for managing the spent fuel from its power reactors,3 and no ~ Much of the basic information about each nation's programs and plans is drawn from David Albright, Frans Berkhout' and William Walker, World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1992 (London: Oxford University Press for SIPRI, 1993). Recent developments are generally drawn from nuclear industry press reports; these are noted separately. In addition, Frans Berkhout provided current information on some aspects of various national programs, particularly regarding spent fuel management policies. 2 Information on electricity generation in each country comes from "1992 World Energy Production and Consumption," NUKEM Report, October 1993, p. 50-51. 3 All spent fuel from British MAGNOX reactors is being reprocessed, some spent fuel from its advanced graphite reactors is reprocessed, and no decision has been made on what will be done with spent fuel from the pressurized water reactor at Sellafield. 235

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236 APPENDIX B overall long-term plan beyond storage. Research and development work for a deep geologic repository to store high-level waste (HLW) is under way at Sel- lafield. HEW is currently stored in facilities at Sellafield and at Dounreay, site of the British prototype fast reactor. Britain also has agreements to reprocess spent fuel for other nations. In this case, the policy is to return vitrified HEW to the producing country within approximately one year.4 Reprocessing. Britain has engaged in reprocessing activity since the early 1950s, both for its weapons program and because the fuel elements from its MAGNOX power reactors were difficult to store for an extended period. Purely civilian plutonium reprocessing began in 1964. Currently, MAGNOX fuel is reprocessed at the B205 facility at Windscale/Sellafield, which has a design capacity of 1,500 metric tons of heavy metal each year (MTHM/yr). As of late 1993, the major issue was whether the large new reprocessing facility, THORP (Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant), would open. An intense campaign by environmentalists had significantly delayed the opening, but the British government was expected to give permission by the end of 1993. This would permit the process of starting up the facility to begin in early 1994. If THORP does open and if it operates as planned, by the end of the decade it would be producing about 5.5 tons of plutonium each year. THORP's owners, British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), have contracts for work through the rest of the decade. There is some question, however, tied to other countries' nuclear policies, whether BNFL can secure contracts for reprocessing beyond 2002. In its first 10 years of operation, an estimated two-thirds of THORP's work would be reprocessing spent fuel for other countries. Most of its foreign work would be for the Japanese, but the facility also has contracts from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. A German or Japanese decision to slow or abandon reprocessing could seriously affect THORP's profitability. Fuel Fabrication and Use. A small (8-MTHM/yr) demonstration mixed- oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication plant built by B NFL is scheduled to open in 1994. BNFL has also pushed for construction of a MOX fabrication plant that would open in the late 1990s, possibly through a technology transfer agreement with the German corporation Siemens for the same design and 120-MTHM/yr ca- pacity as the stalled facility in Hanau, Germany.s At the moment, however, little has moved beyond preliminary discussions. British power reactors currently do not use MOX fuel, and at present there is no plan to recycle plu 4 Frans Berkhout, "Fuel Reprocessing at THORP: Profitability and Public Liabilities," Greenpeace, 1992, p. 13. s Mark Hibbs, "BNFL to Decide This Year Whether to Build MOX Facility," NuclearFuel, September 14, 1992, p. 10.

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APPENDIX B 237 tonium. With the British fast breeder program canceled, plutonium is thus accumulating.6 GERMANY As of the end of 1992, Germany had 21 nuclear power reactors in opera- tion, which provided 30 percent of its electricity. No additional reactors were under construction. Basic Policy and Spent Fuel Management Plans. Germany's civilian nu- clear programs are governed by its Atomic Law, which mandates reprocessing and recycle as the only spent fuel management approach when these are "justified on technical and economic grounds."7 This has long been regarded as prohibiting long-term storage of HEW as a disposition option. Political opposi- tion to reprocessing and recycling (see below) had led the German parliament to consider amending the Atomic Law to permit extended spent fuel storage. No revision appears likely until after the federal elections in 1994, however, as this proposed change has become part of a larger review of energy policy. A report released in September 1993 by the Bundesrechnungshof (BRH), the federal accounting office, has further complicated the picture. The report concluded that the high costs of reprocessing meant that the process "is no longer qualified" as a spent fuel management option. "Our investigation led to the conclusion which was not challenged by federal ministries that reproc- essing is at least twice as expensive as direct disposal of spent fuel."8 As of the time of this report, the German government had not accepted the BRH report and maintained that reprocessing was still the only legal disposition policy un- der the Atomic Act. Reprocessing. Germany had a small, pilot reprocessing capability that op- erated from 1971 to 1990, and the government had made plans for a larger commercial operation. Those plans were abandoned in 1989 in a joint decision with the utility planning to construct the plant. This means that Germany must rely on other countries to reprocess the spent fuel from its nuclear power plants. Germany has extensive reprocessing contracts with France for current work and also has major contracts with Great Britain for future reprocessing at THORP. These contracts all carry significant penalty clauses for cancellation. Fuel Fabr~cahon and Use. Current German policy calls for recycling all the plutonium separated in reprocessing as fuel for its reactors, and all German 6 The British government has withdrawn its financial support from the Dounreay Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR), and it is expected to shut down in 1994. 7 Title 9 of the Federal Atomic Act, quoted in Mark Hibbs, "No Justification for Reprocessing, German Accounting Office Concludes," NuclearFuel, September 13, 1993, p. 7. ~ The quotes from the report are found in Hibbs, ibid., p. 7.

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238 APPENDIX B reactors are to be able to burn MOX.9 Ten German reactors are currently li- censed to use MOX, although only seven have done so to date, and another eight are in various stages of the licensing process. Some German plutonium is being fabricated into MOX at the 35-MTHM/yr facility in Belgium run by a French-Belgian joint venture. Local- and state-level opposition to nuclear power is very strong in some parts of Germany, however. The Green-Social Democratic Party government that came into office in the state of Hesse in 1991 has shut off all of Germany's MOX fuel fabrication capabilities, which were located in Hanau. A 35-MTHM/yr facility was closed in 1991 for safety reasons and has not been permitted to reopen. More importantly, the state government succeeded in halting construction of a 120-MTHM/yr facility that was more than 90 percent completed. The court battles have gone on for more than 18 months, and so far the Hesse government has prevailed.~ Nuclear industry press reports indicate that the German utilities involved in the Hanau facility have told the prime contractor, Siemens, that they would not continue to support the maintenance of the facility much after the end of 1993 without a political agreement to complete the facility and allow it to operate. At present, the long-term pros- pects for MOX fabrication in Germany are very uncertain. With MOX production stalled, separated plutonium from German spent fuel is accumulating in France after reprocessing. France is continuing to sepa- rate plutonium from German fuel under existing contracts, but in line with a general European policy agreement in 1984, France will not return the sepa- rated plutonium unless the capability exists to process it immediately into reac- tor fuel and load it into reactors. At present, about 6 tons of separated German plutonium is in storage at La Hague. Under existing contracts, another 25 tons of plutonium is scheduled to be separated by the end of the decade. FRANCE France has 56 nuclear power reactors that supply almost 75 percent of its electricity. Another 5 reactors are under construction. 9 Germany has a long history of interest in MOX. The first MOX research and development program began in the mid-1960s. A A ruling in the summer of 1993, for example, invalidated all the preliminary operating licenses that had been granted at various stages of construction on the grounds that a full safety analysis should have been completed first. If the ruling stands, the manufacturer, Siemens, must begin the entire licensing process over, which could take several years. Mark Hibbs, "German MOX Plant Loses Licenses; Utility Commitment on the Line," NuclearFuel, August 2, 1993. ~Ibid. Other reports indicate that German utilities have begun talking about package deals for reprocessing and MOX fabrication with the French company COGEMA. BNFL is also reported to have made a proposal to supply Germany's MOX needs. Mark Hibbs and Ann MacLachlan, "German Utilities Negotiating to Shift MOX Fabrication to France, Belgium," NuclearFuel, September 27, 1993, p.3. ]2 Mark Hibbs and Ann MacLachlan, "Pu Storage at La Hague Will Cost German Utilities Over $16 Million," NuclearFuel, June 21, 1993, p. 4.

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APPENDIX B 239 Basic Policy and Spent Fuel Management Plans. Of all the countries dis- cussed here, France has the strongest government commitment to nuclear power and a closed fuel cycle. France plans to reprocess all its spent fuel. It will vitrify its HEW and is conducting research on a geologic repository. In the meantime, it is constructing interim HEW storage depots at its reprocessing facilities. These will handle waste from French domestic power programs, as well as from reprocessed foreign spent fuel. The latter is to be returned to the country of origin for eventual disposition. Reprocessing. France is currently the world's major provider of reprocess- ing services, with Germany and Japan as its primary customers. A new facility, UPS, opened in 1990, is devoted completely to foreign work. An older facility, UP2, continues to handle some foreign reprocessing as well, and construction to expand its capacity from 400 to 800 MTHM/yr is scheduled to be completed in 1994. The French reprocessing program might suffer if either Germany or Japan slowed or gave up reprocessing.~3 Fuel Fabrication and Use. France has a small (15-MTHM/yr) MOX fabn- cation facility that supplies a limited amount of fuel to its light-water reactors (LWRs). As already noted, France is a partner with Belgium in the world's only operating commercial MOX fabrication facility, located in Dessel, Bel- gium. The plant has a capacity of approximately 35 MTHM of MOX annually, with most of its production going to French reactors.~4 Sixteen French reactors are licensed to burn MOX, and five are currently doing so. The rest of the MOX produced at Dessel goes to Swiss, German, and Belgian utilities. France and Belgium also have a joint marketing organization, COMMOX, to sell fuel fabrication services. France is constructing a large MOX fuel plant with a 120- MTHM/yr capacity, which is scheduled to open in 1995-1996.~5 Fast Reactors. The world's only large-scale commercial fast reactor, Superphenix, is located in France. Technical problems plagued Superphenix from the beginning, and it operated for less than five years (1986-1990j. The French government has begun the administrative process necessary to obtain the operating license to restart Superphenix. No decision had emerged by fall 1993, but the outcome was expected to be permission for Superphenix to re- sume operations. Industry press reports suggest that the prototype breeder reac- tor, Phenix, which has been shut down for three years because of concerns i3 French nuclear energy officials thus reacted strongly to reports that Germany might rethink its commitment to reprocessing, stressing the heavy financial penalties that a default would impose. Ann MacLachlan and Pearl Marshall, "BNFL, COGEMA Heads: Germans Say Reprocessing Contracts Will Stay," NuclearFuel, December 10, 1992, p. 3. i4 There are plans to build a second facility at the same location that would double capacity to 70 MTHM/yr. 'sAs mentioned earlier, in the wake of Germany's problems with its Hanau facility, nuclear industry press reports indicate that German utilities have begun talking to the French-Belgian company about supplying their MOX needs. Mark Hibbs and Ann MacLachlan, "German Utilities Negotiating to Shift MOX Fabrication to France, Belgium," NuclearFuel, September 27, 1993, p. 3.

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240 APPENDIX B about its cooling system, might be given a license to undertake an operating cycle in 1994.~6 JAPAN Japan currently has 44 nuclear power reactors that supply 28 percent of its electricity; another 9 are under construction. Basic Policy and Spent Fuel Management Plans. Given its strong con- cern for energy independence, Japan plans to develop a complete plutonium fuel cycle. It has explicitly ruled out disposal of spent fuel in a geologic reposi- tory as a disposition option, in favor of reprocessing. Plans call for the vitrifi- cation of HLW from reprocessing, which will then be stored for 30-50 years prior to final disposal. A demonstration vitrification facility began testing op- erations in May 1992. Reprocessing. Japan has a reprocessing facility at Tokai-mura with a de- sign capacity of slightly more than 200 MTHM/yr, but it has never performed up to expectations. Thus, at present, Japan relies on other countries for reproc- essing services; for example, the French are reprocessing U.S.-origin low- enriched uranium (LEU) spent fuel from Japanese power plants.~7 This practice has proved to be controversial. The return shipment of 1.7 tons of reprocessed plutonium from France in the fall of 1992 caused a storm of protest. The Japanese government was reported to be deeply concerned by the international reaction to its policies. This led to the first indications that Japan might be be- ginning to reconsider some aspects of commitment to a plutonium economy. Some analysts believe that the recent change in Japan's government from the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party may further encourage debate. Japan plans to build an 800-MTHM/yr reprocessing facility at Rokkasho- mura that is to come on-line after 2000. This facility is intended only for do- mestic use; at present Japan has no plans to enter the international fuel services market. Fuel Fabrication and Use. Japan has a small MOX fabrication facility that provides fuel for its experimental and prototype reactors. There are also tenta- tive plans to build a 100-MTHM/yr MOX plant at Rokkasho-mura. Until that is completed, Japan will depend on purchasing plutonium fuel fabrication services in Europe. Japan is in the process of licensing a number of its reactors to han- dle MOX fuel, but none is as yet approved to do so. |6 Ann MacLachlan, "DSIM Leaves CEA Optimistic Phenix Could Operate in 1994," Nucleonics Week, September 9, 1993, p. 3. {7 In addition to the reprocessing services provided by France, the spent fuel from Japan's single MAGNOX reactor is reprocessed by the British at Sellafield. ~8 Japanese officials have stated that future shipments will be in the form of MOX rather than pure plutonium oxide, but this may not assuage the opponents whose concerns are based on both environmental and nonproliferation risks of transporting any form of plutonium.

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APPENDIX B 241 Fast Reactors. Japan is investing in all the elements of the plutonium fuel cycle. A prototype "Monju" fast reactor is currently scheduled to begin opera- tion in the spring of 1994, and two other demonstration breeder reactors are planned in the next decade. RUSSIA Russia has 28 nuclear power reactors that supply 12 percent of its electr~c- ity. Another 18 are under construction, but the current economic crisis makes it uncertain how many, if any, will be completed. Basic Policy and Spent Fuel Management Plans. The Soviet, and now Russian, approach to nuclear power is based on a closed fuel cycle, including reprocessing of spent fuel and a planned eventual shift to breeder reactors.~9 The current Russian plan is to reprocess the spent fuel from all of its reactors except the RBMKs, whose fuel includes a lower percentage of plutonium, thus worsening the economics of recovering the plutonium. RBMK spent fuel is cur- rently being stored pending decisions on long-term management. The disinte- gration of the former Soviet Union and the resulting economic and political upheavals have cast considerable doubt on whether and when these ambitious plutonium plans will be brought to fruition. Any discussion of the former Soviet/Russian program is complicated by the fact that, unlike the United States, military and civilian efforts are not segre- gated. Nevertheless, this discussion focuses pr~manly on civilian activities. Reprocessing. Three main reprocessing sites exist on Russian territory, at Chelyabinsk, Tomsk, and Krasnoyarsk. The Chelyabinsk facility, known as the Mayak Chemical Combine, includes the RT-1 reprocessing plant. This plant has a design capacity of 400 MTHM/yr, although throughput has historically averaged roughly half that. Recently it has declined further, to approximately 120 MTHM/yr, partly because of disagreements between Russia and other states whose fuel was to have been reprocessed there under agreements with the Soviet Union. This plant was previously used to separate weapons plutonium from plutonium production reactors, but it is now used to separate reactor-grade plutonium from VVER-440 and breeder reactor fuel, as well as fuel from naval and research reactors. There are 23 VVER-440 reactors in all, of which only 8 are in the former Soviet Union, with the remainder in Eastern Europe and Finland. The current ~9 Useful sources on Russian plutonium facilities and plans include, among others, Thomas B. Cochran and Robert Standish Norris, Russian/Soviet Nuclear Warhead Production (Washington, D.C.: Natural Resources Defense Council, September 8, 1993); D.J. Bradley, "Radioactive Waste Management in the Former USSR," Volume III, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Office of National Security Technology, June 1992; Yu. K. Bibilashvili and F.G. Reshetnikov, "Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle: An Industrial Perspective," IAEA Bulletin, Vol. 35, no. 3, 1993; and E.G. Kudriatsev, "Russian Prospects for Plutonium Accumulation and Utilization," unpublished paper, presented to an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting on problems of separated plutonium, April 1993.

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242 APPENDIX B Russian debate over whether to accept nuclear waste from other countries is thus a significant issue in its relations with these states. Spent fuel storage space in several of these countries (including Ukraine) is beginning to run out. Because no plutonium is being recycled into light-water reactors, and large- scale breeder reactors have not yet been built, some 26 tons of excess separated plutonium have built up at the Mayak facility. At the current rate of reprocess- ing, roughly one additional ton is added each year. The Tomsk reprocessing plant, used to separate weapons plutonium still being produced in three production reactors, was shut down on April 6, 1993, as a result of an explosion in a tank used in the PUREX reprocessing process, but it had restarted by late summer of that year. At the Krasnoyarsk facility, there is another (underground) reprocessing plant used to separate weapons plutonium. There is also a large, partially completed, civilian reprocessing plant known as RT-2, designed to reprocess VVER-1000 spent fuel, which was to have had a capacity of 1,500 MTHM/yr. Construction at RT-2 has been stopped for several years due to lack of funds, however, and it is not clear when, if ever, it will resume. Russia has been discussing the possibility of ob- taining funds to complete this plant in exchange for reprocessing spent fuel with several countries, including Ukraine and South Korea. Fuel Fabrication and Use. Russia has several pilot-scale plutonium fuel fabrication facilities. The main ones are at the Mayak facility (which employs a pelletized approach to MOX fabrication similar to that used in other countries) and in Dimitrovgrad (where a vibrocompaction approach involving no pellets has been developed). The BN-350 and BN-600 fast reactors run primarily on uranium fuel, but have conducted tests with plutonium fuel assemblies, both weapons-grade and reactor-grade. Construction of a large MOX fabrication facility known as "Complex- 300," with a planned capacity of about 120 MTHM/yr, started at Chelyabinsk in 1985 and is now estimated to be roughly 50 percent complete.20 Construc- tion has been halted for several years, and hundreds of millions of dollars could be required to complete the facility. As with RT-2, it is not clear when, if ever, construction of this facility will resume. The facility would produce fuel for the four planned BN-800 fast reactors, whose future is also in doubt. A MOX fabri- cation plant at Krasnoyarsk with a capacity of roughly 200 MTHM/yr, designed to produce fuel for VVER-1000 reactors, is in the planning stages, but even if all goes well it will not be available until well after the turn of the century. Fast Reactors. Two fast reactors, the BN-600 in Russia and the BN-350 in Kazakhstan, have burned plutonium fuel on an experimental basis, although as mentioned above they have operated primarily on highly enriched uranium (HEW) fuels. The Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) remains committed to building three to four large BN-800 breeder reactors. Construction of the first 20 COChI8al1 and Norris, op. cit., pa 60~

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APPENDIX B 243 reactor, however, has been stopped for several years, and it is not clear when construction of such reactors will resume. Although some MINATOM officials continue to estimate that the first of these reactors will begin operation as soon as 1997, senior MI:NATOM official Boris Nikipelov recently estimated that it would be 10-15 years before the first of these reactors is completed, an estimate others continue to find optimistic. UNITED STATES The United States has 109 operating nuclear power reactors, which supply 22 percent of the nation's electricity. Basic Policy and Spent Fuel Management Plans. The United States has a once-through fuel cycle with disposal rather than reprocessing of the spent fuel from its nuclear reactors. President Carter decided against a civilian plutonium fuel cycle in the 1970s based on concerns over proliferation, economics, and environmental consequences.22 A major licensing effort for use of plutonium fuels in U.S. reactors then in progress was terminated. Later, Congress termi- nated the Clinch River breeder reactor program as well, although research on advanced fast reactors has continued. Under Presidents Reagan and Bush, there were no prohibitions on domes- tic reprocessing, but since plutonium fuel use was not economically competitive with LEU fuels, no civilian reprocessing was undertaken. Thus, 70,000 tons of spent fuel from U.S. LWRs, along with vitrified HLW from past military and commercial reprocessing, are to be disposed of in the Yucca Mountain geologic depository, if and when that facility is approved. Reprocessing. The military plutonium reprocessing facilities at Hanford, Washington and at Savannah River, South Carolina have largely closed down, although there is now discussion of reprocessing some materials that may be difficult to store for prolonged periods. The commercial reprocessing facility at West Valley, New York has been closed for well over a decade. Fuel Fabricator and Use. No operating plutonium fuel fabrication facility exists in the United States. At the Hanford site, there is a partly completed MOX fabrication facility designed to provide fuel for experimental fast reac- tors. It could be modified and completed to produce some 50 MTHM/yr of light-water reactor fuel. No U.S. power reactors are currently licensed to burn MOX fuel, although with varying degrees of modification all U.S. LWRs could burn a one-third core. In addition, three currently operating and one partially completed System-80 LWRs could burn a full core of MOX fuel. 2} See Mark Hibbs, "Waste Disposal Top Priority for Back End, Nikipelov Says," NuclearFuel, July 19, 1993. 22 Presidential Documents Jimmy Carter, Vol. 13, no. 15, April 18, 1977.

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244 APPENDIX B Fast Reactors. The United States has two small experimental fast reactors. The Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) is on standby mode and would take more than a year to restart. At present, there are no plans to do so. The smaller Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) was to be phased out under the Fis- cal Year 1994 budget proposed by the Clinton administration, but Congress has voted to keep it running, and debate over its future continues. Research on fast reactors continues in the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) program, headed by the Argonne National Laboratory; the chief corporate sponsor is General Electric. The research is currently focusing on recycling plutonium and other actinides as a waste-management approach, but future funding is uncertain.