ERWIN — Nuclear Fuel Services announced Wednesday that it has completed the transformation of weapons-grade uranium into a low-enriched form suitable for the Tennessee Valley Authority to use in its nuclear reactors.
The BLEU Project started with an interagency agreement between the TVA and the Department of Energy.
“The BLEU Project created a partnership between government agencies and companies with specific nuclear expertise in a ‘swords to ploughshares’ initiative,” NFS President Joseph G. Henry stated in a release. “Completion of this project illustrates NFS’ role in contributing to our nation’s nuclear non-proliferation initiatives, while at the same time supporting the TVA’s need for economical nuclear fuel.”
The first shipment of highly enriched uranium from DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration arrived at NFS in June 2003. Since that time, NFS processed and down-blended 22.8 metric tons of highly enriched uranium in many material forms, completing the last batch in August. A total of 312 metric tons of low-enriched uranium was produced during the life-cycle of the project.
The amount of low-enriched uranium produced by the BLEU project would be enough to power the entire TVA service area, or approximately 3.8 million households, for 4½ years, according to the release from NFS.
“NFS developed unique processes to produce safe, clean energy out of nuclear materials that otherwise would be dispositioned as waste,” Henry stated. “With one of only two facilities in the United States authorized to process this material, and our expertise as the sole provider of fuel for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, NFS is positioned to continue as a highly specialized nuclear services provider for the industry.”